The Deep South Beauty, Brutality and the Mystery of a Great ParadoxNovember 26, 2013 By Collegeville Institute Leave a Comment Barbara Matz, an artist and teacher from Northfield, MN, came to work on her project, The Deep South: Beauty, Brutality and the Mystery of a Great Paradox. Barb’s project, consisting of a series of paintings and mixed media, seeks to present the beautiful culture found in the Deep South, which arose despite the cruelty of slavery and racial oppression. Her work invites viewers to consider this paradox, and to ask the question: “How do the events of southern racial history influence our attitudes today?” Barb says of the project, “The Deep South series arises from a profound curiosity about the past and present culture and history of the south. After many travels through the southern U.S., I became fascinated by the lifestyle and history of this area. The atmosphere is one of mystery and beauty. However, racial tension and the institution of slavery present a darker side to this atmosphere. The air is almost palpable with stories of both joy and suffering.” “As a northerner, I found myself wondering: what really went (and goes) on here? What are the ‘real’ rules now as opposed to the pre-civil rights era? I want to promote introspection in the viewer as s/he asks what part s/he has played, consciously or not, in the cycle of racism. How do events of the past influence us both individually and as a nation, today? What do we need to say to each other about this?” When asked about the goals for her Barb explains, “The first goal of my series is to show how the richness of southern culture has grown and survived from a backdrop of human cruelty. The second is to promote introspection within the viewer: How have the events of the past influenced my perceptions of race? What attitudes, conscious or not, exist within me that are influencing my thought? What influence does this past have on our nation today?” Like this post? Subscribe to have new posts sent to you by email the same day they are posted.