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Art Criticism/Formal Theory - Essay Example

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A close analysis of Marshall’s piece “Better Homes, Better Gardens” dazzles the viewer with colorful, linear imagery that immediately brings to mind the innocent simplicity of a children’s picture book. However, the mentality that served to re-entrench the racial lines…
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Art Criticism/Formal Theory
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Download file to see previous pages the social reform movements that were supposed to bring about a better life for all actually was referring mostly to the white middle class at the expense of those still living in the projects of the country.
Through images depicting the suburban ideal, Marshall shows us a young couple in life, stepping out together in step, hand in hand, supporting each other, into a new world of opportunity and hope. They are clad like college students, ready to enjoy everything the world has to offer after having been given a beneficent start in the friendly community atmosphere of the housing project. This is depicted as a place where children play, experience wonderful carefree childhoods and then walk through the morning sunshine to their future goals and dreams, as shown by the bluebirds swooping above the couple’s heads. Flowers, trees and green grass grows underfoot, suggesting the quiet peace of a suburban setting while white puffy clouds float lazily overhead, suggesting that there is nothing in the world to be alarmed or concerned about. This is the message that was being portrayed in the 1960s, one of equal opportunity and hope for all.
Underlining the concept of the missing black man from American history, Marshall’s couple is presented in his characteristic true black hue. He removed any shades of browns or any other colors from his figures with the express purpose of removing the shades and degrees of personality that are typically characterized in the human face. Expression in the eye, shape of the mouth, tip of the head and body posture are the only clues he provides regarding the inner nature of his characters, yet this does not mean he is limited in the range of emotions and attitudes he can portray. Although the young couple in this scene seems to be locked in a posture of love and support, they could just as easily be locked in a battle of wills one against the other, or they could be holding each other up out of fear of what’s beyond the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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