1924, Amityville, New York
Connecting paint, identity, and landscape
Paintings are based on emotion. I use landscape image as a metaphor for the feeling of time and illusion. I drove across the United States from New York to San Francisco three times, and every time I went across the country, I see nature differently because I’ve learned from one trip to the other and understood what I was looking at. Being influenced by Hudson River School, the landscape painters, and respecting what they’re doing about their illusion, they invited me to go paint in this plantation in Georgia.
There’s a whole big, bushy area around me, and I was looking and I said, “I wonder what happened in that area down there?” How were the slaves being treated?” So I did a painting of that area. My paintings, in terms of Afro-American and Native American, their blood is in the soil of the United States. So that’s part of nature. And so that combination is why I paint landscapes.
You can’t just look at a painting and see one thing. There is this other element going on. There’s a whole understanding of Native Americans in terms of the phenomena of nature, because Native Americans just survived and lived for years, a very healthy existence just by nature.
Please note that artwork locations are subject to change, and not all works are on view at all times. If you are planning a visit to SFMOMA to see a specific work of art, we suggest you contact us at email@example.com to confirm it will be on view.
Only a portion of SFMOMA's collection is currently online, and the information presented here is subject to revision. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to verify collection holdings and artwork information. If you are interested in receiving a high resolution image of an artwork for educational, scholarly, or publication purposes, please contact us at email@example.com.