Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Re: [art_education] African American Artist to use with Michael's "tattoo" sc...

Expand Messages
  • SERGIOLORA@aol.com
    In the late 1960s, a heady decade in the American Civil Rights Movement, Ben Jones embraced the multidimensional issues associated with African-based thinking,
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 28, 2004
    • 0 Attachment
      In the late 1960s, a heady decade in the American Civil Rights Movement, Ben
      Jones embraced the multidimensional issues associated with African-based
      thinking, spirituality, and aesthetics. He began teaching African and African
      American art history in addition to studio art. In the 1970s his work began to
      reflect this engagement (Black Face and Arm Unit, 1973, #1).

      The artist began dancing (1967-1982) with the Chuck Davis Dance Company in
      New York, a premier troupe of African and African American dancers. Davis
      introduced Jones to African culture and spirituality. Together they went to bembes,
      Afro-Cuban celebrations of drumming, ritual chanting, and dancing, usually
      intended to please the deities and induce possession. Jones, who is an adherent,
      not an initiate, draws on the spiritual power expressed in Yoruba (Santería)
      ceremonies. A recent example is Shango/Chango, 1994-95 (#5), a large wall
      installation (Jersey City Museum) in which the artist fused elements of drawing,
      painting, and collage to pay homage to the deity of thunder and lightning known
      as Shàngó in Africa and Chango in Cuba. The central image features the thunder
      ax, a pervasive symbol emblematizing Shàngó /Chango’s power. The black
      circles surrounding the double ax contain phrases that speak to upright behavior
      appropriate not only to African and Afro-American belief systems, but to
      universally accepted norms of ethical behavior. The female and male figures on the
      side walls represent ceremonial processions in which adherents of Shàngó receive
      the spirit command (àshe) of the power deity. Jones has presented this
      procession as a dance composition suggesting the agency of dance in religious
      practices.

      Recently Jones began a series of thirty-six fans (work in progress) depicting
      Afro-American jazz performers. Dinah Washington – Queen of the Blues, 2002
      (#6) is a tribute to one of many outstanding female stars whom Jones perceives
      as a “power figure.” To analogize Washington’s image with power, the fan is
      decorated with small red thunderbolts, attributes associated with Shàngó
      /Chango. Fans, traditionally used in Afro-American churches as well as in Afro-Cuban
      and Afro-Brazilian ceremonies, are here intended to remind the viewer of the
      pioneering musicians, who in this country bequeathed a unique class of music
      based on African beats, reinterpreted.

      Praise, Light, and Peace, 2002 (#7) represents a formal shift from figuration
      to abstraction. However, Jones’ attempt to express spirituality through an
      abstract language is rooted in earlier traditions of 20th-century art history.
      Formally, the stained look, achieved through washes of color, is an attempt to
      suggest “the touch of the spirit.”
      Visual Arts

      “Soyons rèalistes, demandons l'impossible!”


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.