Tuesday, March 8, 2011

"Harlem Street" by William H. Johnson

    There are people crowding the streets, crossing it and walking off into the city. They look sad and drooped over and I think this relates to how there was alot of racism towards black people during the HR so they had a hard time dealing with society.  No doubt they felt sad and alienated because of the discrimination against them. Even though there is alot of action going on in this picture it feels very slow like a dream. Perhaps this represents some deeper meaning that W.H. Johnson felt towards the neighborhood of Harlem.
    I see anger at racism expressed in this painting in a very subtle way. The way the artist portrayed the people makes them look sad and like they don't know where to go. This represents how African Americans were so oppressed and discriminated during this time period they really couldn't go anywhere with dealing with some kind of racism. Also identification with race because this looks like Harlem and that was the main hub for colored people. Notice that all of the people are walking towards each other and in the same general direction. I feel like this means coming together as a whole.
      I chose this painting because its quite unattractive in the best way possible. Its so crude and I love that. It looks like something any person off the street could have painted, someone with no previous art experience. Than again maybe that's just the style William H. Johnson was going for.  I decided to go with this one because its so simple yet expresses so much at the same time. Especially the dull colors with a lot of bright blue that express melancholy.  My favorite part is how there is so much action and movement happening but it somehow feels like its a dream happening in slow motion. The painter emphasizes this by blending all of the traffic and people together at the end of the road in blue paint. Also I like that the sky doesn't have any particular kind of weather, its just white with a scribbled out cloud...which totally contributes to the overall dream-like state.

1 comment:

  1. I like how you alalyzed the surreal, and dreamlike quality of the painting. I deffinetly felt that tone to the picture, but I didnt think about what aspects of the painting specifically contributed to that emotion. Especially the sky, before you commented on it,I didnt even notice it. good job.