Challenging Ideologies Through Art with De Art JunketWednesday, July 27th, 2011 Categories: De Art Junket, Features, Updates
Yearning for a world in which we are all equals. Seems impossible, I know, but it doesn’t keep one from longing or hoping that some day we will wake up in a world where equality is a staple and not a luxury. It’s an all too familiar cry. Sometimes I feel like I’ve exhausted my ‘everyone should be seen as equals’ argument. Senseless discrimination and categorizing sadly is still rampant even given society’s current proximity to education. We’ve been marching, screaming, debating, all in an effort to bring our message across. Maybe those who discriminate have been desensitized by our wailing and grown accustom to our rants.
Then you stumble upon a revolutionary who has been hiding his message secretly. Packaging your exact argument into an aesthetically intriguing piece. Honestly why rant when you can paint? This is Ellingworth Moses’ sentiment exactly.
This Dominican born artist has been using society’s issues as his muse. “We are all one”, or at least this is how he’d like us to feel and just so we don’t forget he introduces what has become his signature; a piece of thread. In all honesty when I was first exposed to his work I remember thinking, “Well, that’s pretty neat.” A seamless piece of thread where it’s hard to tell its beginning or end, carefully incorporated into his paintings. It’s one of those things that you think artist do to distinguish themselves before you get a chance to peep at the creator of the piece. Kind of how you would be able to pick out a Basquiat piece in a line up without even having to ask. For Ellingworth though it is more than a signature, in fact I’m not sure if it was even intended to be one, but he has used it to fuse his characters.
To what? Well to everything around them be it the tropical scene that stands behind them or to each other. The whole idea here is to get people to realize that we are all connected in some way or the other.
If you fail to get the message in the thread, Ellingworth purposely paints faces void of identifying characters. As he explains it, this is how he wants humanity to see each other. A blank slate, left to be judged by one’s interactions and character and not by the way one looks.
His omission of these characteristics somehow leaves one feeling like you’ve entered a caricatured dark fantasy world. Faceless figures greet you and thread intertwines above and around them constructing an intriguing labyrinth. His subjects are set against breathtaking landscapes that have obviously been patterned on his surroundings. He then occasionally uses the cubist technique in his paintings, which altogether adds a dramatic flair inciting even more introspection. As if that’s not enough he takes the fantasy element up a notch and embeds his faceless characters into his breathtaking scenery leaving more for the mind to fuss over. It is sometimes more refreshing to deal with abstraction than a straightforward representation of a topic. The way in which he has created these dream-like imaginative portraits has the same effect as a fantasy novel. It is meant to teach you a bit about life but masks the message that it conveys.