I recommend this interview with scholar Darby English (pictured above). In this article, English shares “his reflections on our current moment, how art has changed over the past several decades, and why generalizations of Black art are so problematic.”
I am pulling out a compelling thought of English’s about the role of figuration in painting. Before the storm knocked out our power I was aiming to write a little bit about the increased role that the human figure is playing in the field of painting. It’s been written about here, and there and also discussed at length on this podcast.
But perhaps English has put it in a simpler and more succinct way than I ever could (emphasis is mine):
To me, the worrisome thing about a flood of figuration is the time and resources we aren’t spending on the part of us we can’t image, the part we won’t sell, the mysteries, the fractions, the freaks. So whenever I see a figure, the first thing I need to do is to determine what it is and what it’s for. Is it a good witch or a bad witch?