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How Does Your Garden Grow
Portfolios: African American Art, May 2013 Curator Reviewed Art
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How does your Garden Grow is a commanding image that resonates with affecting compassion towards the subject. The saturated lemon yellow sky is an unexpected and skillful contrast to the rich brown soil, and crisp blue shirt on the figure. He looks serene in his repose, but he’s an unassailable if not an imposing solitary form in the stark landscape. His attire also challenges the viewers’ assumptions that he is actually working the land; on closer inspection one could alternatively view him as a vaguely indifferent bystander rather than the primary subject in his own painting/story. But rather than projecting the picture of barren earth, the warm dirt offers fertile promise. But the more I look at this image, the more I’m struck by the contrast with your other paintings. How does your Garden Grow leaves room for multiple interpretations and perceptions with the openness of the space, and isolation of the “farmer”. Most of the other works you’ve posted in the portfolio are much more highly detailed and rendered within a tightly woven narrative. Little Cowboys is perhaps the most idyllic, revealing a familiar axiom about childhood, reminiscent of none other than Norman Rockwell. Other pieces engage the viewer with recognizable constructs for musicians and archetypal familial traits. The piece plainly entitled I am a Man for me is another standout. The bluntness of the text adds a forceful and passionate content to the otherwise objectively representational portrait.
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