My Big Black America
© Wesley Clark
A large relief sculpture is of the United States painted in black.
Given its monumental size and coloring, My Big Black America is an accurate description of this sculpture, yet the possessive adjective “my” hints at a deeper meaning. The campaign and eventual election of Barack Obama in 2008 served as an impetus for Clark to create a suitable monument to African Americans, and to acknowledge their claim to a country whose infrastructure and economy was founded substantially on Black labor. Scarred wood from disassembled shipping crates provides a foundation for the sculpture, onto which Clark layered salvaged elements from turned furniture, tree limbs, and fresh, unblemished timber. This intermingling of old and new wood alludes to generations of African Americans, past and present. Each wood reacted uniquely to painted and stained finishes, creating a variation in value and hue that reflects the spectrum of Blackness in America.
Exhibition Title: Asheville Art Museum: An Introduction to the Collection
Label Date: 2021
Type: Catalogue Entry
Written by: Kristi McMillan
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