CLEVELAND, OH — Artist/photographer Georgio Sabino III embarks on an adventurous presentation of images and icons as part of the African American Artists Alumni exhibit at Case Western Reserve University, with an opening reception Sat., Feb. 8, from 5 to 8 p.m. through Friday, Mar. 6, 2020.
Sabino’s newest work references iconic pop art of the past and juxtaposes photos from his recent sports images of the Cleveland Cavaliers and championship basketball star LeBron James.
“I want us to continue basking in the glory of the winning spirit that LeBron James brought to this region, rather than looking to the instant gratification of the newest next thing. I am still celebrating that major win, which had not occurred since 52 years ago,” Sabino reflects. “LeBron is an example of a great American, coming from little means and still making his dream come true…showing that you can do it.You can still achieve your dreams.”
In a world that has become over-politicized and many issues overly stigmatized,Sabino’s pop art is a reflection of our culture through a pro-American fun subject. The art of the digital footprint is to leave a legacy of what we have witnessed in our current culture.
With the current saturation of information technology and social media, Sabino harkens back to the pop art tradition as an update in play now. Although simple in its appearance, Sabino’s work illustrates a few tongue-in-cheek observations that are as much a metaphor for the game of life.
Contemporary art lets us breathe, not tied down to that which is conventional, and provides an outlet — locally and globally — that can be appreciated in the more recent history of art than from traditional Western European art history.
Among his influences are Andy Warhol, Keith Waring and Roy Lichtenstein, Jean Michel Basquiat and Kehinde Wiley. Sabino’s representations of pop art are a newer reworking and evolution of images from an Ohio native son, that persists in the grit and resolve to conquer educational genocide and the financial oppression of today’s systems.
“Look at the example from the movie about Elizabeth ‘Dido’ Belle Lindsey, and compare that with our current British royal Megan Markle. Here is a modern day replay of a similar transformation,” Sabino points out.
“When enough people don’t stand up for the injustice of disparate treatment and fair play, the game is unfairly won in favor of those who have rigged it that way. We are partly to blame for not fighting against it, as is our educational system, the media and a general blatant disrespect of humankind. Yet LeBron overcomes and surpasses all that. So have others — and that means we can do so, too.”
Pop art, the term first coined from British artist Eduardo Paolozzi’s 1947 collage, “I Was a Rich Man’s Plaything,” was an important representational shift of identifying source material in art, from the elements of everyday culture and mass media commercialism. Its depictions from British and, later, American artists from the 1950s and ‘60s connected fine art for the masses by relating imagery that they could recognized.
The colors that Anna Arnold uses in her portraits are the first aesthetic that catches my eyes, then the structure of the faces of her subjects. In her work, “Storyteller”,the audience -I – am drawn to the layers of age and time. In the work, there is a baby in the arms of a man, her father and an older woman, maybe a grandmother in her chair, almost center of painting. That allows my memory to retract to neighborhoods in Cleveland, where you see these imagaes. The church, the preacher, and the strong voice of the black woman are off-right as if serenading the story of the older woman. Arnold, this painting, is giving us a glimpse into a concept within black culture, which is griot – storyteller – and all stories aren’t good or necessarily meant to be told. Some of the faces are not smiling nor emoting, which to me lends itself to black culture, again, not revealing the language of pain and so that language becomes worn on their faces. The house in the background are well taken of and bright in color – healthy looking. That tells a story of what black neighborhoods should look like; which is in stark contrast to the urban relics that stand currently. Arnold brings hope in many layers to the eye, which travels into the heart, causing the body to warm with a new storytelling – one that is colorful, strong, and healthy.
￼Storyteller Anna Arnold
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The details of black history that are sometimes forgotten or not given enough praise are the focal point of Jerome White’s works. When I first saw his portraits of black faces, I was drawn to the details of the hairs of the faces. In “The Jungle”, the hair is an African jungle with elephants, giraffes, lions, and birds as the shadow. In “Divine Perspective”, the shadow of locced hair are a tower of giraffes traveling in or towards an African jungle, possibly the one in “The Jungle”. White’s work is bold in its images, that contrast with the background of some of them. In “Cotton Grass” the young sun kissed brown girl stands, with a pinwheel in a cotton field. What could be implied is that she is a slave girl because she is in a cotton field. Or she could be a memory, a ghost standing there as a reminder, or her family could own the farm, and she herself is wealthy, standing on the acres her lineage so deserves. White’s art allows black history to weave with symbols of how black culture has survived and still remains the forefront of history, and civilization. White’s work is bold, emphatic, and dares you to question the validity of African American culture.
See more Jerome White
Georgio Sabino III
When I see photography of Georgio Sabino III or GS3, I see celebration. His coverage of the 2016 Cleveland Cavaliers Championship win, expressed a city that sighed with happiness as LeBron and his teammates brouoght home the win. The field of view in the photos from the day of the celebratory parade, shows unity and history, both with the people, the buildings and all things within. His photo of then President Barack Obama with the team expresses pride, both from the first and only black president as well as a basketball squad, that had been continously counted out. Playing for a city that often gets counted out. GS3 and his lens draw the subject with his precise eye for who he is shooting. His photo with literary’s beloved Maya Angelou, again captures dignity and joy, as the matriarch wordsmith beams with pride at his lens. His photos are crisp and clean, with clear relationships between the camera, its subject and GS3 as artist. From President Obama’s smile, to wedding photos celebrating unions, his photography is art and leaves the audience standing, staring, and most likely, imagining themselves in that moment that is seized. GS3 and photgraphy are one and the same. One is not seperated from the other. As a viewer of his work, you become a part of the photgraph, there isn’t a seperation between you and the photo. That is the craft and magic that is GS3.
Written by Kecia Nicole Foster – Cleveland Art Prize Winner ￼￼2019
CWRU Distinguished Alumni African American Artists showcasing new artwork 2020 / Curator Tim Shuckerow
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Georgio Sabino III
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Coming soon to Ursuline College Tim Shuckerow art show 2019 retrospective of life ￼
Enjoying the night in Cleveland Ohio
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