Narrative by – Barbara Greene Mann July, 2011
“Have we Melted yet?”  The Seer explains the terror of the tsunami and the fear that the reactors may have a meltdown. But some just ask for spuds and baseball.

“Have we Melted yet?” © David Blackwood

David Blackwood one of Canada’s most respected visual storytellers, presented an award-winning retrospective show at the AGO. I rallied at his much-deserved recognition as I follow in this highly respected tradition of art. From the beginnings of history, artists have depicted their world beginning with the earliest known, the cave paintings from a hunting society and then on to religious scenes, historic battles, portraits of famous kings. Patrons, and noted military leaders.  Subjects tearing the souls of artists have joined this school, such as Picasso’s Guernica.

All have been revered, I find this is not the case in today’s art world. The large abstract oil paintings still steal the wall. Still lifes and landscapes are the most popular for they are the best received, especially if they are barely recognizable.  The audience is free to delight in the wanderings of their minds, like distinguishing shapes in clouds.  But often a tale without a synopsis can do the same.

As an example, I will display the various avenues that led to a wide foray of topics and interests. Autobiographical tales can travel through a wide gamut of emotional context, mimicking years of psychoanalysis, saving many an artist a small fortune.

This example is an acknowledgement of the lessons imparted by Mothers.  Working for something increases the appreciation of attaining the object of desire and the sooner the better, excluding toddlers.  However, it is acknowledged by many a small gift is nice and usually brings happiness.

Underage, I entered the workforce as the bottle return girl in a supermarket. Dexter Davision. I was saving to buy my first car. My Mom said I had to pay more since I knew where she lived. A cigarette butt flew into the back window on the way to the beach. Unbeknown to me and my girlfriends, the firemen seemed to enjoy informing us about this accident. They efficiently modified the interior of my car. My Mother using great insight never said a word, however, she smirked. There was a lesson to be learned: Don’t smoke and drive.

Don’t smoke and drive.© David Blackwood

History is common in storytelling and a much-loved subject among today’s youth is the Hippie Era, of the 60’s and 70’s.

In this tale, even suspicion of marijuana use, brought fear to some parents as drug enforcement agencies tried to curb its use. This piece is aptly titled, “Busted.” I wonder if President Obama’s grandmother received a call. Upper left a call from the family to eat out or intervention, the suspect enters the car and goes to the Drug Enforcement Agency. The man in charge (lower centre) and verifies the goods to re-enforce the parent’s fears a story was told about Art Linklater’s daughter, wearing a black dress, jumped off a roof and died. Two narcs came to her home, they told her to squeal, but instead she went to Europe and returned home to become an artist.


© David Blackwood

Eventually, I moved on to community themes, Detroit: Below
Dally in the Ally, a yearly music festival.

Dally in the Ally, © David Blackwood

And global events. Here I created a new world vision, fired by John and Oko’ Imagination, Facebook, here say and my Muse.
Dally in the Alley, an annual event of music and visual arts. 2011

Hey John, World Designed in Peace, © David Blackwood

And then I created global solutions to problems I encountered.

Barbara Greene Mann received her MFA from Wayne State University in 1973. She was one of the original Cass Corridor tribe in the 70” s in Detroit. She has shown her work in both Detroit and Toronto.