(Soldier, Charles White)
A Charles White retrospective is at the amazing Art Institute of Chicago right now through September third. The Art Institute, on its web page Charles White at the Art Institute of Chicago, states:
Charles White, born and educated in Chicago, was one of the preeminent artists to emerge during the city’s Black Renaissance of the 1930s and 1940s. A passionate mural and easel painter and superbly gifted draftsman, White powerfully interpreted African American history, culture, and lives in striking works that nevertheless have a more universal resonance
I’m not an artist, nor am I an art critic. But what comes to mind and to heart while viewing his works was all of this: dignity, pain, suffering, caring, compassion, strength. These are not art words, and I cannot speak about what White used to create such art. But I can speak to how White;s artwork affected me, a highly sensitive poet. I would like to find words deserving of the near reverence I felt in the presence of art that is not only great, but art from a great person. White felt people were basically good and his works are imbued with love and respect as well as with a painful knowledge of social injustice, racism, poverty, separation, loss.
I almost feel I should step back, use few words, and just show the photos, simple photos taken by my little phone camera. You can see I am not a professional or even a good photographer, but I believe you can sense the greatness of White’s art work even from my phone photos.
If you can get to the Art Institute of Chicago, I would highly recommend seeing this retrospective. I will go again, and perhaps find some words. If you cannot get to the AIC, look here for insights and images: http://www.artic.edu/exhibition/charles-white-retrospective.
White’s creative compassion stays with me.
Charles White, a retrospective, now at the AIC through September 3rd.