Friday, July 21, 2006

Art Appreciation Friday

I first discovered "The Red Umbrella" by Allen (what a great 1st name!) Stringfellow in one of those big-box warehouse discount places that is constantly changing stock. It had a gold frame and a glare-resistant pane of glass, with the price written in marker right on the glass! I didn't have any money on me at the time, recent college graduate that I was (and jobless at the time, if I recall correctly--before my stint at Weiner CC), so I didn't purchase the picture then. Some months later, at the same shop, I saw the picture was still there, and I bought it. Alcohol took the sharpie off the glass nicely.

I hung this in my office at the church in Weiner, AR. One of my elders, upon examining the picture, said something like, "There's not a lot of white folks on there, is there?" Well, obviously, some of the people in the picture were intended to be read as African-American, but I sort of had assumed that the lighter-skinned folks were white or Asian or Latino or something. Mostly, I hadn't thought a lot about that aspect of the picture. It was the sheer glee in connection with baptism that riveted me to the picture. There was something there that I didn't want to lose in my own ministry. Sure, they don't have faces, but their body language expresses the joy of the event!

Allen Stringfellow was, apparently, a well-respected Illinois artist, famous for his portrayals of his own African American culture--church scenes, especially. Though he worked in a variety of mediums, Red Umbrella appears to be paper collage, with some additional paint or ink added in places, like the sky and the branches of the tree. The wall is sort of interesting, seeming to have been torn from a magazine photo of a place like Morrocco or Palestine, though you can't see the detail in this blurry print. Sorry. Good pics of Stringfellow's work are a bit difficult to find online.

Just wondering, what moment in the baptism is this? Is the person being lowered into the water or brought back up? It's always looked to me like they were just sort of swinging this fellow (lady?) along the surface of the water by a wrist and ankle, and had just let go of the ankle at this moment! Whee! Splash! Definitely not a method of baptism we covered in Practical Ministry class!


Anonymous said...

well I have the one hot painting that is the Redumbrella with the church going down in the water. love it how much is worth?

Anonymous said...

how much is it worth?

Allen's Brain said...

No idea what an original is worth. Sorry. I'm sure there are art critics/experts/auction houses online that could give you a decent idea.

Unknown said...

I have 2 picture one is the red umbrella by stringfellow and I would like to know how much it is worth.