Doo dahs are defined as “placeholders” and, in the context of my work, can best be characterized as a word that describes that mental pause between creative alternatives.
My recent work emanates from a desire to reinterpret the African American stereotype by means of free association and a method spontaneous design akin to automatic writing. Through a series of large pen and ink abstract portraits of blackface actors, and drawings inspired by songs from minstrel shows and the anti-bellum south, my thoughts, feelings and emotions are recorded in a form of mental mapping with outcomes that are at times unpredictable, but decidedly consistent with my past work. The interplay between black and white, of positive and negative, both literally and symbolically, attempts to get to the root of the mindset that drove these performers to adopt alternate personas. While the genre of Blackface is loathsome, it nonetheless served as a placeholder until the talents of African Americans could gain recognition.
Mark Steven Greenfield 3/15/11
Mark Steven Greenfield, Portrait of George Walker, 2010, pen & ink on Duralar, 36" X 24"
Mark Steven Greenfield, Portrait of Eleanor Powell, 2010, pen & ink on Duralar, 36" X 24"t.