Made by Jeffrey Bradley

I will analyze a work of art I've seen in person and recreate my experience of it.

Created: October 4th, 2015



I had examined Glenn Ligon's Prisoner of Love #1 (Second Version) for my experience-reproduce project. It's use of text caught my eye over the more abstract shapes that had filled the room. Although a picture is worth a thousand words, I find actual words convey meaning much more efficiently. The words on the work coupled with their context as well as background information on the artist allowed me to study and find meaning in this piece easier than I could with a more abstract one. 

The sentence repeated all over the work is "We are the ink that gives the white page a meaning", which is a reference to Jean Genet who had written, "In white America, the Blacks are the characters in which history is written. They are the ink that gives the white page a meaning," in his memoir Prisoner of Love.   



I found it interesting how the words at the top are clear and defined against the white background while, near the bottom, the words are illegible and the remaining white spots enter the foreground against the black. Given Genet's quote and his involvement with the Blank Panther Party, I feel it's safe to assume that the work has something to do with race. 

Blank Panthers were historically radical, albeit not violently so, given the time period. I believe the bold contrast between text and background at the top of the work represents this. It draws the eyes and forces the viewer to read and understand. By the time one reaches the bottom, the words are smudged and the black ink no longer draws the eye. This may represent how the force behind a concept or movement may diminish when it is widely understood and widely accepted. 

In addition, we see how the color that is less represented enters the foreground in each part of the picture. This indicates how homogeny may harm one's own representation. One only counts if they stand out.



I wanted to capture the transition between black on white and white on black, so I created the gradient in the background. In front of the gradient is a black and white spiral. I had hoped to create three different sections in this image. On the left, a white spiral in a black background. On the right, a black spiral in a white background. In the middle, one could imagine both colors due to the background of gray. This way, one can see that the majority color is never in focus, just as it is in Ligon's Prisoner of Love. Only in a neutral environment can the two colors be in the foreground. 

I wanted to convey how I felt about the issues discussed in Ligon's work. When not in a place of power, aggression may very well serve one's cause. However, as the cause grows, continued aggression only serves to highlight one's opponents. 



I feel I managed to capture the shift from background to foreground Ligon had in his piece. I had intended to add more lines and gradients, but I lost track of time. I'm afraid the gradient does not progress quickly enough to show the transition from a black to a white spiral. 

If I were to do it again, I'd like to animate the spiral such that it moves back and forth within the gradient. That would better display the transition I wanted. 

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I will analyze a work of art I've seen in person and recreate my experience of it.