American artist Winslow Homer is best known for his dramatic seascapes with fishermen and rescuers battling hard-nosed marines. But an extensive new exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art aims to delve into the rich and varied life of the artist, as well as the lesser-known themes and themes he explored.
“Winslow Homer: Crosscurrents” aims to re-examine the artist’s work “through the lens of conflict”, according to the museum. It has 88 paintings, including many from the museum collection, along with about 65 loans from institutions and private collections.
Viewers may be surprised to learn at this skilfully organized show that the artist painted many images of the Civil War and Reconstruction, including depictions of his impact on the landscape, soldiers and former slave people.
“This is a major performance by one of America’s most important artists,” Met director Hol Maxin said in a preview last week. “Homer dealt not only with complex social and political issues, but also with his work also for universal concerns: the fragility of human life and the dominance of nature.
“Focusing on the subject of conflict in Homer’s art, this exhibition presents a new understanding of his profoundly contemplative approach to depicting race, nature and the environment.”
The focus of the show is The Gulf Stream (1899, rebuilt in 1906), is considered one of the most important works of Homer and one of the first to enter the Met collection.
The painting depicts a lonely black man in a small boat in a turbulent sea threatened by sharks encircling the boat without a mast.
While some interpreted it as a ruminant on mortality after his father’s death, the painting “also suggests the legacies of slavery and American imperialism as well as more universal concerns,” according to the museum.
Sylvia Yount, who co-hosted the show with Stephanie Herdrich, said discussions on the show begin in the summer of 2020, which has been marked by racial justice protests across the United States and around the world.
The protests “made our particular approach to Homer much more relevant, as we all reckon with our complex stories and their subsequent legacies,” Judd said. “Homer’s profound humanistic art has spoken differently for generations and we feel that examining the darkest currents and the tension between emotion and struggle makes production decisively resonate with our viewers today “.
Wood and Hendrich made an interesting and up-to-date adventure on the show with a selection of his works contemporary artists such as Elizabeth Columba, Hugh Hayden, Kerry James Marshall and Kara Walker who meet The Gulf Stream and other works by Homer.
A gallery includes five paper works from the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis for The Gulf Stream (2003), The redesign of Homer’s canvas by Marshall.
Marshall’s image “transforms Homer’s dramatic composition, with its uncertain outcome, into what has been described as a ‘liberation metaphor’, rejecting the black trauma of black joy,” the museum said in a statement.
Brooklyn-based artist Hugh Hayden, whose work Brier Patch was in view earlier this year in Madison Square Park, met Homer’s The Gulf Stream although the Marshall Review.
Having adapted the theme through his own vision, the artist’s three-dimensional sailboat has 12 ribs and refers to a sea snake that reflects both danger and salvation.
Also, an important diptych of Walker entitled appears The intersection (2017), which offers an answer to both of Homer The Gulf Stream and Emmanuel Leutze Washington crosses Delaware facing the realities of a precarious state ship.
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