Monday, 12 March 2007

Kara Walker Thoughts for Consumption (Or not)

This weekend Don and I visited the Walker Gallery and viewed an exhibition of Kara Walker images (no relation to the person for whom the museum is named).

For those not familiar with her work - Walker (the youngest ever winner of a Macarthur "Genius" grant) takes the stereotypical images of Black people that have been present in White media for hundreds of years and exagerates them and reproduces them in the "genteel" medium of the silhouette. Her works are enormously disturbing both visually and in terms of the reminder of the fact that these images are embedded in the memories and subconscious of our historically and even presently unfair social systems. An example can be found at the PBS slide show on Walker , where a variety of images are available to peruse.

Her images are raw and perturbing and not for the prudish, (echoing the ugliness, obscenity and biases of past generations) and she has given me a lot to think about in terms of issues of Art and truth.

She herself speaks about her work and ideas more elegantly than I ever could:

“Beauty is just kind of an accident. Beauty is just a happenstance. Beauty is the remainders of being a painter. The work becomes pretty because I wouldn’t be able to look at a work about something as grotesque as what I’m thinking about, and as grotesque as projecting one’s ugly soul onto another’s pretty body, and representing that in an ugly way.”
— Kara Walker


Beccy said...

Looks like a very interesting exhibition.

The Artist formerly Known as Purpleworms (!) said...

Beccy - It is a very interesting and very disturbing exhibition. There are images of Josephine baker in her banana skirt as well as men with huge phalluses and people doing horrible things to oher people.