Click for Ann Arbor, Michigan Forecast
Saturday November 01, 2014
Follow us: facebook twitter RSS feed
Print Comment E-mail

William Christenberry

 

continued

Though this woman made the egg carton flowers in the image hers, those aren't the only Styrofoam handicrafts Christenberry documents. Another image captures kitsch at its most heartbreaking and sincere: an egg-carton cross decorated with pink plastic flowers marks the head of a gravestone.

With quiet attention to common details, Christenberry's work captures broken, rustic beauty. But to me, a native Arkansan, it also smacks of southern clichés. Collectively, these images create a portrait of the deep South that walks a fine line between old-fashioned and backwards - between woodsy and backwoodsy. They document certain truths about the South: there are kudzu vines, crumbling old buildings, Styro-crafts, and illiterate people. I just hope these aren't the only southern truths circulating up in these parts.

The sole image acknowledging racism - a southern cliché whose exposure remains imperative - hangs in a (tellingly) marginal space next to some folding chairs and a dark hallway. It depicts a squat building called "The Underground Railroad." With dead leaves and a half-fallen marquee in the foreground, it isn't the most beautiful tableau in the exhibit, but it might be the most poignant.

The exhibition continues through Sunday, June 1.

Bookmark and Share
previous  ·  1 l 2 l 3 l 4  ·  next page
all on one page
read more stories here -> Marketplace  l  Culture  l  Community  l  News
Esquire Interiors Ann Arbor MI
Top of the Lamp, Ann Arbor's locally owned lighting specialty store.