I'm still thinking about the use of shadows in the Miwa Matreyek video I posed here last week, which reminded me of the charming shadow art created by Allison Read Smith (above). "These pieces run across the floor and up the wall," says the artist, "so that when the viewer stands on the 'feet' of these pieces their shadow is cast. The shadows, cut from black felt are approximately 8-10 feet tall. They are looming and comical."
Shadows are such magical, fickle, tricksterish things...particularly to generations raised on J.M Barrie's Peter Pan:
"Mrs. Darling returned to the nursery, and found Nana with something in her mouth, which proved to be the boy's shadow. As he leapt at the window Nana had closed it quickly, too late to catch him, but his shadow had not had time to get out; slam went the window and snapped it off.
"You may be sure Mrs. Darling examined the shadow carefully, but it was quite the ordinary kind...."
On the darker side of the shadow realm, I'm also a fan of Kara Walker's shadow drawings/silhouettes, (pictured below), which are beautiful, disturbing, and utterly brilliant. "In Walker's work," wrote Hilton Als (in a New Yorker profile of the artist), "slavery is a nightmare from which no American has yet wakened: bondage, ownership, the selling of bodies for power and cash has made twisted figures of blacks and whites alike."
“Most pieces have to do with exchanges of power," says Walker, "attempts to steal power away from others.”