Thoughts on Art

Hank Willis Thomas at Artforum:

All of my work is about framing and context. Where you stand affects what you see. Your notion of reality is completely shaped by your perspective and what you bring to what you’re looking at. You can have multiple people looking at or talking about the same thing, but having different experiences when it comes to what they’re seeing and what they’re actually talking about.

I’ve always loved modern art, especially Minimalism and Conceptual art. However, I’ve often struggled with interpreting its meaning and even interpreting its value, and at some point I thought that I could engage with it more closely by working with optical ideas that artists such as Frank StellaDaniel Buren, and Ellsworth Kelly were wrestling with. I was really interested in Buren’s stripes because they are seen as so mundane and apolitical, and I realized that in the United States stripes play a critical role in our iconography as a country (the stars and stripes) but, of course, that we also imprison more people in the land of the free than anywhere else in the world and that prison stripes also have a meaning, a potency. There’s the idea of bars that are meant to represent liberty but are also meant to represent people being confined.

more here.