Kara Walker American

Not on view

Walker engages the silhouette form to explore issues of race, slavery, and memory, manipulating historical aspects of the medium to disturbing effect and interrogating our social structures in the process. To make this work, she used lithography to simulate the qualities of a traditional silhouette. Upon first glance, the innocuous images of clouds that occupy the bulk of the composition distract from the gruesome and unnerving scene that plays out below. Walker has described the historical silhouette tradition as coming "from a sort of polite middle-class society to some extent. [A silhouette is] not as haughty or aristocratic as a full-fledged oil painting portrait. Everyone could get one for a few pennies—and you had an image, you had connection with physiognomy."

Untitled, Kara Walker (American, born Stockton, California, 1969), Lithograph

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