Show gives new meaning to black icons
HANK WILLIS THOMAS at Georgia Schermann Projects (133 Tecumseth), to June 13. 416-554-4112. Rating: NNN
Hank Willis Thomas‘s Visionary Delusions show reproduces ads and brands that have used images of African Americans over the last 50 years, removing all product references and copy. In so doing, he reveals that their visual language tells a story subtly at odds with their overt pitch.
Not knowing what an image is trying to sell causes cognitive dissonance and discomfort the naked images behind such time-honoured icons as Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben show just how volatile an issue race continues to be, even in the age of Obama.