Full Screen :
Ernie Barnes (1938-2009). Sugar Shack . Oil on Canvas. 1976.
1280 × 936
Ernie Barnes is a painter Afro-American, professional football player, actor and author. It was, amongst other things, official painter of the Games Olympic of Los Angeles in 1984.
Barnes is a genius of the representation of the movement.
This painting was used as small pocket for the album of Marvin Gaye, I Want You in 1976.
Called “Grand Rembrandt” by his fellow-members of Broncos of Denver, Ernie Barnes introduced a his personal style into the representations of its compatriots of color. Its topics are new at the time, the blacks that Barnes represents in the ghetto is completely relaxed.
Barnes paints the beauty and the pride of poverty. Barnes also shows how the Afro-Americans use the rhythm and the dance to solve the physical tensions. The author speaks about experiment of childhood and his innocence before the discovery of the sin of the dance. Barnes uses the word sinned . Any ethnologist knows that many dances are the ritual ones which simulate the coupling. Ernie Barnes pushes this logic until the end. The generous curves of the women, the ambiguous positions of the bodies, the frenzy which reigns on the track of dance all this evokes the environment of the clubs where the men and coloured women met to make music and to dance. The influences of Barnes are multiple, certain critics speak about post mannerism by analogy with the lengthened bodies of Bronzino, Correge or the Parmesan shortly after the Rebirth. But Barnes is influenced by the caricature and the cartoon that by the mannerism. One also speaks about Black Romanticism which is a kind with whole share. But if the characters of Barnes are completely dislocated and frantically move in all the directions because they are happy and they are happy to be free. They do not have any more chains. The chains posed by the slave traders European white fell. And the former slaves are able to move by their own will.
The word “Sugar Shack” refers to the huts with sugar which were in wood and which were used as clandestine distillings. This gives with dimensions even the more sulfurous to the place. One of the characteristics of the characters of Barnes is the eye apparently closed. Its explanation to this particular esthetic decision is that he refused to paint people the open eyes because the human beings do not see themselves, they remain blind with the humanity of each one. It compares our eyelids with the lamp-shade of the lamps. Our eyelids are used to protect us and not to see the other such as it is.
And Barnes deplores that too often the people trust appearances and especially the colour of the skin. It is rather well placed for that.
Barnes started to draw the college. During its career of professional footballer his trainers asked him to draw the forms that took the unfavourable attacks and defenses. All this was used for the tactics as play. It is the owner of the Jets of New York, Sony Werblin, which, intrigued, convenes art critics and realizes that it has more value for his country as an artist than as a football player. And the league places it in front of its paintings beside the matches. And he becomes official painter of the Olympic Games…
Ernie Barnes is one of the most innovative and talented artists that the USA never produced. Curiously Europe forever desired to see its works and its talent in full light. Former slave traders do they have bad conscience to see finally free and without chains the slaves whom they all sold or sacrificed to grow rich ?
The point of view of the spectator is a little above the center at the level of the face of the dancers at the foreground.
Way of the glance.
1/ The picture is read upwards. The glance notices the bodies in the foreground in lifting and embarrassing positions, the generous curves of the women.
2/ In the second time the spectator realizes that there is a singer on scene and of the musicians on the line.
3/ Then the glance goes up, it is disturbed by the streamers which illustrate the album of Marvin Gaye but notices the dancers on the balcony.
The Author uses 3 natural points of interest.
In top on the right the saxophonist and the singer of the group are on the right superior natural point of interest.
In bottom on the right a couple of unrestrained dancers move on the lower right natural point.
In bottom on the left 2 other unchained couples occupy the left lower natural point.
A border enters the top and bottom.
The horizontal lines and verticals do all left the decoration. (Ceiling, balustrade, balcony, staircases). In lower part the guiding lines which underline the bodies or the musical instruments are either of the diagonals or of the broken lines.
A work in 2 quite distinct parts.
The top of the table is composed by the verticals and the horizontal ones.
From all that is in lower part of the balcony the 2 large diagonals take the control of all that the music directs.
This character with his bottle with the foot of his chair is only scene to remain completely motionless.
Barnes draws its compatriots with much humour and mischievousness. As many for the postures bodies that for the expression faces.
This couple seems completely had and subjugated by the music, it is carried by ambient frenzy.
The lamp with the ceiling lights the scene directly in lower part but the light is also diffused towards the 2 coasts of the dance hall.
Contrasts between hot and cold colours.
Similar Paintings :
Room Ful'A Sistahs
Los Angeles 1984.