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Kara Walker may be said to represent an image of suckling most forthrightly in the striking figural group. He plays up a characteristic of the form through a connection to stereotypes. Her write up makes one bewildered and elated by the exciting, yet largely incomprehensible narrative of graphic violence and sexual depravity that spread before a great gothic panorama In a review of Walker’s work, Randall (2001) latches onto this connection and traces it through several exhibits, while applauding Walker’s ability to suggest complexities for form and space in the traditional silhouette. Though Walker evokes attributes of the eighteenth century silhouettes, her interpretations are usually much larger, often spanning entire walls and creating a bizarre world according to Randall’s review. Walker focuses on slavery and the antebellum South in most of her work though more recent exhibits depict New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

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No matter the subject, she creates “provocative frequently incendiary and racially charged images,” according to Randall (2001, p.70), the author of a New Yorker profile on Walker’s 13 year art career.

Whether visual or written, profiles share this appeal to emotions. Walkers work is interpretive and sometimes emotional in nature, and depict a sense of character and to invoke senses in the audience. Additionally, Walkers work has a narrative structure according to Randall (2001) “realizing a narrative biography frames a subject and affects humans vision, thereby, providing us with a greater awareness of the complexity and richness of biographical form” (p.3). In line with this, Walkers work identifies a paradox known as “completeness by selectivity”.

The experience of the power of the spectacles that Walkers work has created was profoundly exciting. The work made sophisticated references to antebellum history and the nineteenth century American visual culture. Walkers work shows piles of excrement, children being sexually assaulted, and babies being murdered.

Code: writers15

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