Charcoal, Pencil, India Ink on Canvas
48 x 60 inches, 2015
A little black girl is carried away by a murder of crows. In this work, as in some future works from the forthcoming Ten Little Nigger Boys series, crows make an appearance to symbolize peril/death as an intelligent, strategic force that carefully maps out its plan of destruction. I remain perplexed by the high instances of missing black children that are unreported, unsolved, and generally disregarded by an American public that tends to quickly engage cases of missing white children. This disparity in how we as a society collectively decide to show care for white children, without question, versus our cart blanche dismissal of suffering black ones has bothered me ever since I myself was a youth. It speaks to the larger issues of the marginalization and invisibility of black children, both of which are also the impetus behind another drawing in this series titled Forgotten Girl.
Of the drawings in this series, Gone Girl most resembles renderings from my sketchbook: the free-flowing lines and overlaid figures (the girl and the crows) came together, not as a pre-planned composition, but as an improvisational design. I can also say that my use of India Ink in this work, though minimal, follows a similar unplanned application.
I wanted the musical score to become a seamless part of the overall composition. So, the score was created in concert with the rest of the drawing. As with the other images in this series, one of the greater challenges that I faced with Gone Girl was negotiating the rough surface of the canvas (which is really made for wet mediums) with the various charcoals and conte crayons that I was using for the drawing. I cannot say that I ever found a balance with which I was wholly confident. But, for each drawing, I arrived at a unique solution for these sorts of challenges.