Category: Glenn Ligon

Glenn Ligon | Irony And Inherent Contradictions Within

A casual observation of American artist Glenn Ligon’s paintings and prints might lead one to believe that they are looking at the work of someone with developmental problems; text on paintings that express degenerate, deviant thoughts. One might also expect a frightful experience to hear him in person but his speech is so calm and eloquent that such expectations disappear, leaving one to wonder if the works are in fact done the same person.

Untitled (Four Etchings) (1992) Glenn Ligon
Untitled (Four Etchings) (1992) Glenn Ligon

Phrases that express racially and socially induced self-doubt and alienation repeat over and over again, filling the canvas and fading into oblivion, as the text, oil stick smudges and charcoal dust blend together into an undecipherable black or white mass, or mess. Taken from the works of canonical African American writers, his earlier works seem more emotional, expressing the feelings of what it might feel like to be a black person in America at the time, while the more recent works are conceptual, highlighting irony and inherent contradictions in society.

Black Like Me #3 (1992) Glenn Ligon
Black Like Me #3 (1992) Glenn Ligon

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