The Provocative & Powerful - Image of the Black By S Ross Browne

Posted by Lyemium Editorial on Feb 09, 2016

Reimagined and redefined

"The Image of the Black: Reimagined and Redefined," is the title to S. Ross Browne compelling art series making several references to "The Image of the Black in Western Art," a landmark publication of Harvard University Press. Browne is seen amongst many as a black artists reimagining and redefining the black experience.

"The Persistence of History, images shown above, is an acrylic-on-canvas portrait of an Elizabethan-style woman with the deep eyes and dark skin which challenges the "conventionally assigned racial archetypes," commonly found white imperial culture.  S. Ross Browne, does so brilliantly in this piece. Another surprise comes from what the woman holds in her elegant hands — an hourglass. Though incongruously held on its side, the sand — red-blood sand — continues to flow through the center, individual grains bouncing upon impact.

Browne's "The Reconciliation" is metaphoric with religion, mythology and war; by portraying Eve and a breast-plated Joan of Arc. This warrior contemplates an apple in her right hand which is symbolic to the forbidden fruit while the other hand, with an unseen figure, grabs at her left. 

In another large oil work, "The Calm," three contemplative women dressed in white are clearly contemporary, except for the sword and pieces of medieval armor also in the scene. The Richmond-based Browne "loves elevating the black woman," Bedolla says. "He sees them as an empowering force."

Nina Buxenbaum, a New York-born and -based graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art, is represented by oil-on-linen pieces using the dreadful "Topsy-Turvy doll" — a white girl concealing a black girl underneath Southern belle clothes — as a symbol "to explore my personal expression of self as a biracial woman and also play with the metamorphosis of identity." These richly textured paintings of women emerging from, or entangled in, satiny dresses exert a haunting lyricism.