Today I walked into Kave in Downtown Barberton and finally had a change to sit down and star into the charcoal art that measures 5ft x 16ft. This piece of art instantly took my by surprise because I considered myself an art lover but this was the first time I just stood there for 5 minutes just staring. Ron White the artist reasonable for this art piece titled “The weight/wait” is a high school art teacher here in Barberton, Ohio. The entire art piece is black and white and done in charcoal and is absolutely mind bending.
I wanted to write about this piece to explain it but then I remember that art is in the eye of the beholder. This makes it extremely difficult to explain as it means something else to anyone that examines it. With this is mind, I decided to simply just write about some of the things that sticks out to me.
Shaming and Pointing Fingers
The focal point of the piece is in the middle where there is a man standing in the corner of two types of brick walls being shamed/disciplined. The walls morph into a book that I assume represents the law. There is a man holding the book pointing down on the person in the corner as to say “You” or “It’s your fault”. The book edges morph yet once again into rope throughout the entire piece. The most notable part of this rope is there is a couple of pair of hands that our bound together to represent “My hands are tied”. The ribbon intertwines through every subject in this art piece representing the law has a hand in everything. Even a small figure of a runner (which I assume is Jeep Davis) is bound by the ankle with the rope.
One of my favorite parts of this drawing is the puppet masters. There is a small figure holder a piece of paper that says “Building Code, Zoning Code” with a long reach over a larger business man. There are strings attached to the small figures fingers representing the overreach and power an individuals holds over business and economics. There is another figure hidden in the background with a long reach under the small individual holding the zoning paper. This large hidden figure is holding a match under the planning director indicating the corruption by larger business in government. In the focus there is also a man in a business suit holding a face.
The Next Generation
On the left side of art piece there is two egg shells with what looks to be nude bodies indicating the new generation. One of the young figures are curled in a small ball as to be innocent doing nothing. Near this figure is yet another egg that is cracked and there is an arm reaching out. The arm is reaching up to part of the rope (representing the law) with a pair os scissors as to be cutting the rope.
No See, No Hear, Forget
On the right side of the piece is a man in the background wearing robe of sorts. The figure resembles frank Einstein. The figure has its eye closed tight and you can see the hands plugging the ears of this figure. This figure makes me think of the primitive foundation of everything is knowing blind to the things going on. All the corruption is known to exist but everyone looks the other way and chooses to hear, see and say nothing. Below this figure stretching under the entire art piece is what looks to be a black man holding up everything as if it suggests the system was built on African-Americans shoulders.
This piece as a ton to offer. I have been staring at it for about an hour while I write this blog post. Ron White (Mr. White) has successfully created a piece of art that I think is as moving as anything thing I have seen in recent past. So much so that I think I would offer a large amount of cash to have this piece hang above me at home or my office to create a talking point and express my feelings for our current administration.
If you have not seen this art piece, please check it out at Kave in Downtown Barberton.