Hogarth, Ringgold, Lawrence

SCAD Museum

At the SCAD Museum, they exhibited art that connected via a narrative.  Works done by artists of different backgrounds and eras.

On the first floor, a small room contained A Rake’s Progress by William Hogarth.  One could sit down and contemplate each scene of Thomas Rakewell, a young man whose addiction to vice took him on a downward spiral.  Having seen them before, the facial expressions created by Hogarth still astonish me.  Rakewell’s clueless facial expressions never fails to amaze me.

Across from this room, held a series of collages by Jacob Lawrence.  One told the story of John Brown, a man who tried to free blacks from slavery.  I felt awe at the way he rendered his scenes and subjects.  They have such an angular and jagged quality that exuded a dramatic and emotional feel.  Probably the best collage work I have ever seen.  The smaller Hiroshima series had similar with scenes of skeletons doing everyday things such as children playing.  It made me think of Mexican prints and their use of skeletons.

Finally, the work of Faith Ringgold.  This retrospective shows not just her quilts, but her masks, paintings, her dolls, and her sculpture.  In one room, she captures the horrors of Civil Rights injustices.  The emotional impact of Blacks either killed and oppressed while Whites went on in ignorant bliss or participating in oppression will stagger a person.  In the main room, her masks and her quilts show of celebration and suffering in the African-American world.  From having to marry in secret during slavery to performing Jazz music.

Whether knowingly or not, the SCAD museum has shown the emotional power of stories via artworks connected to each other.

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