Favorite

Storytellers 

Jacks and Williams at HAM.

JACKS' OBAMA: Collage treatment on folded paper.
  • JACKS' OBAMA: Collage treatment on folded paper.

Ariston Jacks and Susan Williams are African-American artists who have in common substantial talent. Both have stories to tell as well, so HAM has paired them up for an exhibit, “The Visual Narrative,” that will be up through May 10.

Jacks is a painter, and his work is heavy on symbolism, commenting on African-American identity. He isn't afraid to step away from usual forms, techniques and surfaces, an approach that will serve him well as long as it is not forced. “Visual Narrative” features, for example, his paintings on paper that have been folded like the memorial ribbon now used in various causes — pink for breast cancer, red for aids. Jacks has put the face of Barack Obama in the middle of one ribbon, set against a mosaic of stars, black faces, a dollar bill, portraits of our greater presidents. He's used a tall thin shadowbox to frame his painting of a man with a hoe. A thought balloon shows the man to be thinking about cotton, or what cotton stands for in his world. The lens of his eyeglasses are painted with a thick, pale polymer that obscures, as glass would, the man's eyes. He has a halo around his head — a motif that Jacks uses in his portrayal of generations past. Three long paintings — separate but a triptych — combine symbols of American capitalism and African tradition, and Jacks juxtaposes with great effect a pale wash over the hovering symbols against the vivid color of the African-American subjects. His painting “Ill Equipped” shows a black man in shirt and jeans holding a spear.

Williams is a sculptor, and her narratives are told, more often than not, in the tilt of a head, the look in the eye and the movement of an arm. Her “Medicine Man” — for some reason displayed on a pedestal so low you have to get down on the floor to get a good look at it — is a graceful, beautifully sculpted figure of a man moving through the air, dreads flying, body twisting, holding on to some sort of ribbons or sticks. Her female heads are, in some instances, too manikin-pretty but the multi-bunned “Her Majesty” is strong. Her “Smiley Girl,” the head of a pouting child, is wonderfully textured. I'd like to see Williams' work on a larger scale. It would cost a bundle, no doubt, but the impact would be terrific.

 

Favorite

Tags:

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Leslie Newell Peacock

  • Townsend Wolfe, 1935-2017

    Max has posted on the Arkansas Blog the news of Townsend Wolfe's death. The photo Max chose is a great one, but I also wanted to put up this one of Wolfe with his trademark brown cigarette. A More cigarette? A Tiparillo? I don't remember, but I do remember that Wolfe was seldom seen without one. The last time I interviewed him, after the ill-fated "World of the Pharaohs" exhibit, he had quit smoking, but out of long habit patted his shirt pocket, where he'd always kept his cigarettes, from time to time thinking he'd find a pack there before remembering he'd given them up.
    • Jan 14, 2017
  • 'Sigh-Fi' Artist Lap Le gallery talk tonight at UALR

    Lap Le, an artist in the UALR exhibition "Sigh-Fi," which gallery curator Brad Cushman describes as a show that "embraces the cognitive dissonance that underscores science fiction," will give a talk at 6 p.m. tonight in Room 161 of the Fine Arts Center.
    • Jan 13, 2017
  • More coffee for the River Market district

    Zeteo Coffee, which opened in Conway nearly a year ago, will open a second c0ffee shop at 610 President Clinton Ave. in February, cofounder Jon Mitchell has announced. Zeteo will offer coffee from Onyx Coffee Lab of Springdale, a breakfast and lunch menu and local craft beers and wines.
    • Jan 12, 2017
  • More »

Most Shared

Latest in Art Notes

Visit Arkansas

Indian Rock House at Fairfield Bay

Indian Rock House at Fairfield Bay

Winter is the perfect time to explore the natural stone shelters where native Arkansans once lived

Event Calendar

« »

January

S M T W T F S
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31  

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Changes needed

    • Building a lead so rapidly and holding it in games, even professional football, is difficult…

    • on January 15, 2017
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation