Art Review, James Shumate, Farm III

2 May



There is a lovely simplicity and solidity to Shumate’s works, he has this uncanny knack for cutting down an image to the simplest shapes and colors thus making it universal.  I find his works comforting, in a way I can’t quite explain.

The things I notice here is how the sky and the earth blend with each other, and if you’ve ever seen a farm like this they can get pretty dusty.  Also how the buildings are a similar color as the dust and earth that surrounds them, as if they were built to be part of this landscape rather than fighting with it.  Look how low and solid the buildings look, and towering above them a series of silos clearly the center of this operation.    We see no people, no machines, no roads, just buildings.

What is it about this image that is so uniquely American?   It reminds me of every large farm I have passed on highways, and how they look, from the window of a car, so monolithic and solid, so much a universe of its own, and because they are so often surrounded by empty land, they also look like fortresses, built to stand through anything and everything.

Shumate’s works really deserve a good looking over–they’re like windows to American’s heartland–the real heartland that has a certain eerie visionary quality about it, beyond all the cliches we’ve seen before.

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