Black is beautiful

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I saw the Coltrane exhibit at Slought Foundation in West Philadlphia yesterday and I’ll say this about two of the abstract paintings included in the 8-person show.

Quentin Morris’s and Stephen Pusey’s black circle paintings, which bear great resemblance to each other, encapsulate Coltrane’s impulse towards musical experimentation — in two fell swoops. I found Morris’s piece (“Untitled” above) moving, its tightly-coiled energy and hints of destructive and constructive power mesmerizing. And Pusey’s piece, (“Equinox” below) which supplements the painted black circle with vigorous pencil drawing over it and on the wall, lyrical and understandable in the context.

By the way, both artists installed their pieces at the same time on parallel walls in two different rooms of the space and neither artist knew about the other’s piece.

This show, which is part-documentary and part-visual art exhibit devoted to the legendary Philadelphia jazz master, John Coltrane, was organized by Slought with help from the African American Museum in Philadelphia and the Rutgers Institute for Jazz Studies, Larry Becker Gallery (which represents Morris) as well as from a host of musicians who are participating in a series of concerts at the gallery.

Slought’s reaching out to diverse sources and communities for their programming is becoming something of a trademark. It’s better than the real thing.

Finally, check out Slought’s web-design tweak — text-enlarger buttons on the front page at the top. Click on 10 point, 11 point or 12 point type for your reading pleasure. It’s a user-friendly addition to a site that swims with text.

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