The Amazing Black-Man and Exquisite Diversion
Kumasi Barnett and Tavarus Blackmon
February 1st - March 24th
reception: Friday, February 1st, 6-9pm
Verge Center for the Arts is pleased to present two concurrent solo shows in the month of February: The Amazing Black-Man by Kumasi Barnett and Exquisite Diversion by Tavarus Blackmon.
Blackmon and Barnett are both addressing personal narratives in their work through illustrative means but with distinctly different approaches. Blackmon, a regional artist is very much shaped by the late 60s early 70s art movements that developed out of the CSUS and UC Davis art departments that he attended. References to Funk and Chicago’s Hairy Who via the influence Jim Nutt are evidenced are evidenced, however, Blackmon has managed to bring a fresh interpretation to these aesthetics by personalizing his subject matter and experimenting with material usage. Blackmon’s work employs rough surfaces, found objects, digital media, and personal, sometimes psychedelic iconography, to tell his story.
Barnett is also drawing on personal histories by modifying his childhood comic book collection in order to ignite a conversation about the nature of heroism. Reimagining popular characters like Spider-Man and the Hulk as African Americans forces the viewer to contemplate the realities of race dynamics and who society has traditional seen as their saviors. Barnett, was raised in Baltimore before moving to New York. Baltimore, like Sacramento has struggled with issues involving police brutality within the African American community. Barnett’s work seeks to inspire a dialogue around these issues by challenging the viewer to reimagine what it would look if our childhood heroes were black.
Tavarus Blackmon is a Sacramento native. He has been published in Susurrus, Calaveras Station, The Sacramento News and Review, The Suisun Valley Review and Newsletter. His thesis, The Politics of the Cartoon and Contemporary Art investigates the development of Outsider Art through the lens of Funk Art and Chicago-based Imagists.
Exhibiting locally, nationally and internationally, he is recently the graduate of the MFA program and Provost Fellow at The University of California Davis. He has exhibited at Shy Rabbit Gallery, Pagosa Springs, CO; The Midway, San Francisco, CA; American Steel Studios, Oakland, CA, The Center for Digital Art, Los Angeles, CA, FE Gallery, Sacramento, CA, BrickHouse Gallery, Sacramento, CA and the Blue Banana Video Art Festival in Berlin, Germany. He has made a warm, artful, home with his partner Elizabeth and their three children.
The Amazing Black-Man
Kumasi J. Barnett was raised in Baltimore, Maryland. He earned a BA from the University of Maryland as well as a MFA from the Ohio State University. His works have been shown in exhibitions throughout the States and internationally. He lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
“Ideally a book would have no order to it, and the reader would have to discover it on his own.”