Tar Beach, the first quilt in Ringgold’s colorful and lighthearted series entitled Women on a Bridge, depicts the fantasies of its spirited heroine and narrator Cassie Louise Lightfoot, who, on a summer night in Harlem, flies over the George Washington Bridge. For Ringgold, this phantasmic flight through the urban night sky symbolizes the potential for freedom and self-possession. “My women,” proclaimed Ringgold about the Women on a Bridge series, “are actually flying; they are just free, totally. They take their liberation by confronting this huge masculine icon—the bridge.”
Ringgold's use of color and the repeating floral motif creates a garden-like border and a sense of familial warmth. By painting decorative embellishments onto her piecework with the same color she has subtly unified the many and varied color blocks used to create the border.
The Gulf Stream is a painting of a single man on a boat, but what is exciting about the painting is the situation the man is in. The mast of his boat is broken, and surrounded by sharks, and to top it off, the sea is stormy, and there is an approaching waterspout. In the upper left corner, off in the distance, there is a ship sailing by. The painting is very dark, and very threatening to the viewer. It is very dramatic in its representation, and id viewed by many to be to terrifying to be considered great art.
To create a threatening atmosphere, Homer used a narrow palette of dark colors, with many grays, browns, dark blues, and black. The painting is rather over whelming at first. How could one man be able to endure so much disaster, yet remain so calm? He was blown out to sea by a hurricane, which broke the mast on his tiny boat. He is surrounded by sharks waiting for the waves to force the man into the water, and to top things off, he is being threatened by a waterspout which, if was able to escape everything else, would surly kill him. Because of all these threatening aspects, many people did not like the painting when first exhibited, and was 6 years old when it was eventually sold.
The meaning of the painting can be read in many different ways, or is polysemic. At first glance, the painting is of a black man lost at sea, but he seems unafraid. This could be representative of the strength of African American s at this time. The civil war had ended, but this was the time of the Jim Crow laws and other such acts against African Americans. Another second look at the painting can reveal another meaning that deals with the industrial side of America. This was the time of the Industrial Revolution.. The choppy water and other dangers could be representative of the trials one must endure to make their way in life. However, the most plausible meaning seems to be of Homer s emotional state at the time. his father, and only surviving parent, past away this year. All these hardships may have left Homer feeling as never before, alone, abandoned, and mortally vulnerable. For these reasons t...