Daniel Minter’s art is an art of reclamation. His images -- in painting, in sculpture -- call back the beauty of our darkest skins, the plush of our lips, the fullness of our sight.
It is an art of close attention. Almost hyper-real. A realism edged forward to its most essential characteristic -- spirit. Wide oval eyes ever-watchful from all the realms. This is mystery speaking a plain language.
Here spirit and flesh combine on canvas, in wood, in iron and bronze. Minter’s figures are both history and myth. His bodies, big-boned and full-labored, have an uncommon delicacy. A heavy grace.
Like Bynum’s binding song in August Wilson’s Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, Minter’s art is an art in service to tradition, in service to recollected integrity, a way to get whole. A way to revision the whole that is ever-present. The whole that never left.
The tools of this work are many: culture, memory, vision. The wide reach of history’s long, sinewy arm. The quick blade of discernment. The gesture in the middle of something. The metal of what is concealed. The saved thing.
Minter’s art is a protective art. And an art of protection. Firm lines. Crossed roads. Boxes. Square things. And the open circles of offering. The discipline of love.
This is the work of the guardian, the interpreter, the-one-who-watches-at-the-gate. Giving us back the ground we grew out of. Reclaiming it. Re-entering it. The fertile place. Source of our sweetness and struggle. All Africa in diaspora. Stony cities and the pushed rhythm of fields. Oceans. Winds. Our New World routes. Our New World wisdom. Our strength. Our salt.
--Rachel Elizabeth Harding, PhD