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Visual art is a silent teacher which can tell the story of a whole generation without words and make people cry without mayhem and other types of assault. Jacob Lawrence and James N. Gregory have presented a collection of different types of visual art, paintings and photos which show the history of a generation, a long period life devoted to the great migration.
A number of specific methods have created a gallery of visual arts which does not only describes the situation, it points to devastating effect of grief, pain and other feelings which can be seen via the work of the artists, colors they used, figures the painted and the angle they presented.
Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Stories
Looking at the paintings Lawrence has presented in his Migration Series, it should be mentioned that even though they have similar traits and revel the same emotions of grief and unhappiness, each of them is unique. The same colors are used to underline that the problem an artist shows is similar on all paintings.
Dark-green, yellow, black, red, grey and dark-blue colors are mostly used. This can be explained by the types of emotions these colors awake when people look at them. The author does not use shade and the lines where the colors change are strict and expressive. There are almost no faces which can be remembered (Lawrence n.p.).
The artist tried to offer his vision of the historical event. His paintings are mostly dark. Even when yellow and white colors appear, they seem to underline and deepen the dark side of the paintings. The emotional coloring is gloomy. Each painting in the series offers the viewer the information about one specific moment from the life of people in that time, but the vision is created that the whole life people was combined of those dark, gloomy and unimpressive moments which they had to experience because of immigration.
James N. Gregory’s American Exodus
James N. Gregory offers viewers another type of visual arts, photos. The works devoted to American Exodus are black-and-white. Black-and-white photos help consider the lines which show emotions and face expressions. Moreover, even though there are no colors on the photos, a viewer can see the specifics of the wretchedness and grey life people had to lead. This makes a viewer understand that migration was a very negative experience, but they had to sustain and they did it.
Looking on the photos, it can be said that every detail is seen, even though many photos are made from distant angles. Sometimes even shades hint a viewer about hard times and the problems people have. Looking at these photos, there is no need to read about migration in America, everything can be understood from the pictures which show either children who cry or the places they have to live in (Gregory n.p.).
Thus it may be concluded that looking at a painting or a photo, a viewer can understand the artist’s feelings and the theme via the colors, shapes, shades, perspectives, etc. Jacob Lawrence’s and James N. Gregory’s visual arts have provided the viewer with a part of American history.
The methods they used were different, but, still, they were effective. A viewer has an opportunity not only consider what the painting is about, but he/she also can receive substantial experience about American migration which has placed a record in history and remains in the heart of every Native American.
Gregory, James N. American exodus: The dust bowl migration and Okie culture in California. Web.
Lawrence, Jacob. Migration Stories. Web.