It is with work like Preparing to Sound the Alarm where we see how informed Thomas Blackshear’s Afro Nouveau style is. Not only does he pull inspiration from the bountiful visual histories of African culture, but there are also traces of europe’s new and classical art histories as well.
Preparing to Sound the Alarm captures a beautifully rendered black angel armed with a majestic bugle. Thomas’ use of composition successfully creates a sense of grandeur size. This subject, very reminiscent of Macy Grey, touches three sides of the image and as a result the elegant cherub seems cramped into the image. This use of composition aides the depiction of a concerned face to create an ambiance of grand anxiety that is also suggested by the works title.
In addition to crafty and emotive composition Blackshear mutes the colors of his trademarked idiosyncratic palette of bright tertiary colors. However, both the skin and white gown jump off of the surface of this painting. A golden background which strongly references both the gold leaf tenaciously used by Gustav Klimt and the texture of Gothic frescoes (A manner of painting in which pigment is mixed with plaster or limestone and applied directly to the wall. Sistine Chapel, ring a bell?) These elements of art history, composition, and color converge to create yet another great piece for Blackshear.
Review Written by James Sprang