synecdoche

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National Gallery of Art

 

i saw this piece at the whitney and was instantly drawn to its deceiving simplicity. by byron kim, this artwork comprises of different colored panels in which every shade of oil paint and wax represent a skin color. the hues of yellow, pink and brown juxtaposed into a collective whole create a liberated sentiment of race and ethnicity — freeing the conception of skin color from the shackles of social and political construct to give each and every color equal status.

each panel is uniform in texture, dimension, and position. no one color is advantaged by its particular physical place in this piece. if one panel is featured in the center, it has just the same qualities as that of the panel located at the lower bottom corner. it is a radical metaphor for race and ethnicity based on a simple artistic vision of clean lines of color.

perhaps this metaphorical humanism founded upon such a simple idea is exactly the kind of message that we need to hear in today’s state of the world, in which we are bitterly divided by increasingly messy, dangerous, and complicated lines that have led us to lose sight of a shared basis of our identities.

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