Louis Sloan, Frost Valley, 1995, Oil on canvas, 54 x 70 inches
The snow would be waist high and the temperature freezing or below. Lou would be Eskimo-like with his easel and brushes ready for action. This was a dedicated landscape painter, one of the best on the planet. Because he was such a dedicated en plein air devotee and practitioner, Lou had my immense respect, besides being a super sweet person and a “real human being.”
Louis Sloan was an under-recognized painter who happened to be a “Black Artist” who didn’t do “black art.” His main focus was the beauty of the planet; landscapes were an example of his raison d’etre. This was not a body of work that curators or museums at that time wanted to know about. After all, it was the 1960’s and 1970’s, a time of flux and confusion, when searching for someone who could paint, period, was not “au courant.” Curatorial initiatives as well as artists of the time seemed to be in search of personal and racial identity in and via art.
Louis Sloan, Self Portrait, 1956, Oil on canvas, 41.5 x 29.5 inches
Louis Sloan knew who he was. He was well ahead of what the culture was trumpeting as relevant art for the time with the repetition of a sad message which should have sunk with many of the ships of the Middle Passage.
I learned a great deal from Mr. Sloan when I was a student of his at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia. His influence followed me into my studio many years after his actual instruction. However it was his poise with the paint brushes and painting knives that still makes a lasting impression on my own landscape work. Mr. Sloan’s ability to paint and teach made him a master creator on so many levels. He was not recognized for his brilliance during his lifetime. I hope that changes.
Barkley Hendricks, Bedroom Eyes,1975, Oil and acrylic on cotton canvas, 10 x 10 inches
Barkley L. Hendricks is an internationally renowned painter and photographer best known for his realist and post-modern portraits of people of color living in urban areas beginning in the 1960s and 70s and continuing to the present. www.jackshainman.com/artists/