Desert Forms

Hughie Lee-Smith here conjured an unsettling scene: the stormy blues of the sky, the rocky terrain, and the unknowable relationship between the walking woman and the distant man. The artist often situated enigmatic people in bleak landscapes, and he aligned these morose visualizations with his experiences as an African American man: “Unconsciously it has a lot to do with a sense of alienation… and in all blacks there is an awareness of their isolation from the mainstream society.” Anonymous and disconnected from one another, the figures face an austere existence–evocative, perhaps, of the human condition amid a turbulent modern world.

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