Fabulousness and Traps

Beauford Delaney’s portrait of James Baldwin (circa 1945-50), first the artist’s protégé, then his protector — and a frequent subject. Credit… Estate of Beauford Delaney and Derek L. Spratley; Michael Rosenfeld Gallery LLC.

Here’s a vibrant pulverization of Smith-song around the paintings of Beauford Delaney (1901-1979):

Robust impasto surfaces… startling colors… visionary buzz… new kind of painterly fabulousness… sturdy realism overloaded with color… something of an Egyptian immobility… crisis-crossing strokes [sic: Is “criss-crossing” intended?]… soft expanse of puddling blobs… pulverized in different color combinations.

(Roberta Smith, “Beauford Delaney: Portraits Glowing With Inner Light,” NYTimes, 10-14-21)
“June 1977,” 2021. Credit… Courtesy of Mickalene Thomas.

Angela Flournoy’s comment about subject matter being a trap says something useful to me, I believe.

Subject matter can be a trap; wanting to focus on what an artwork represents at the expense of how it was created obscures what particular, idiosyncratic creative epiphanies brought the work into being.

(Angela Flournoy, “Mickalene Thomas Is Reinventing Nudes,” NYTimes, 10-13-21)

(c) 2021 JMN — EthicalDative. All rights reserved

About JMN

I live in Texas and devote much of my time to easel painting on an amateur basis. I stream a lot of music, mostly jazz, throughout the day. I like to read and memorize poetry.
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