The Amazing Black-Man and Exquisite Diversion
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.