Crow In Window
Acrylic on Canvas, 4″ x 5″, 1978
Through the use of a unique figurative vocabulary, Robert Colescott lures the viewer into his work, examining interpretations of history, race, religion and popular culture. He depicts worlds of contradictions – the dramas of women and men, black and white, the oppressed and the oppressor, past and present, all with a sense of humor and humanity. His use of humor, gender and race reversals, while parodying art history, has made his work evocative without losing its critical edge.
The surging crest of Robert Colescott’s work, its interconnectedness no less then its pulsating and continuous confrontational thrust, has catapulted viewers into self-questioning bordering on discomfort. This discomfort affects everyone. Over dressed-men and under dressed-woman are both black and white; so are misogynists, murderers, philanderers, and just plain lazy bums. Not only does he “mock our anxiety” about race but he “never doesn’t talk about race and he never talks about it only;” his joyous state, replete with “sonorous tumbling, shady joy, sex, love, money, music, art, memories, and comfort food” are present in all their glory, yet so are racism, sexism, poverty, murder, hate, avarice, envy and deceit. All, propelled by an overreaching consumerism, twirl through a spectacular frenzy of color and form to become paintings so masterful on so many levels that one’s breath is taken away.
Robert Colescott was born in Born in Oakland, California in 1925. He received his undergraduate degree in art at University of California, Berkeley in 1949 and a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of California, Berkeley in 1952. During a sojourn to Paris (1949-50), Colescott studied with Fernand Leger.
Colescott is represented in numerous public collections listed including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, as well as many private collections. Colescott was selected to represent the United States at the Venice Biennale in 1997. He was the first African-American artist to represent the U.S. in a single-artist exhibition at the Venice Biennale.
— Phyllis Kind Gallery
Eat Dem Taters
Acrylic on Canvas, 59″ x 79″, 1975