Woody Guthrie

Length: 3 Pages 661 Words

For my project, I chose to go look at the exhibit, “The Life and Legacy of Woody Guthrie,” at the J. Wayne Stark University Center Galleries. It told about his life story, and presented many of his famous works of art. Woodrow Wilson Guthrie was born in the small town of Okemah, Oklahoma on the fourteenth of July in 1912. His grandparents moved to Oklahoma trying to seize the opportunity to seize land from the “Indian Territory.” In his lifetime, Woody experienced and saw much hardship, which he reflected through his artwork, music, and poetry. For example, at the age of only fourteen, Woody was living on his own. Using the hymns and spirituals he learned, Woody added what he learned in the folk tradition from people he met on the road. He also lived during the period of the Great Depression, which presented starving families and much injustice. Woody and many Americans wondered how all of these horrible things could go on in the country proclaimed to be the “ Continue...


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However, Woody's ability to directly show the events so blatantly is what makes his works so powerful. His life prematurely ended when he was hospitalized being diagnosed with Huntington's disease, which also was the cause of death to his mother. All of this, Woody expressed through his work, as he was not merely just an artist, but an avid activist as well. The painting shows no artistic ability what so ever, but it is so powerful and dramatic. He only used four colors; red, yellow, purple, and black, yet we can still see and imagine a poor girl suffering from starvation. Both are done in a silhouette form, as in both paintings, only an outline of the figure is done. Many families were starving as plenty of food sat behind the fences in the fields left to rot. However, both are very important in the world of art today. The painting is very simple, as it shows a girl, done only in an outline, with smeared paint in the background. One painting that really struck me was the painting "Starvation Disease. He drew this in response to the many families starving from the lack of food during the Great Depression as many individuals were out of work. However, they are also different is some ways also. The exhibit showed many of his paintings, poetry, and music he produced in his lifetime. This painting is comparable in some ways to the painting of the man in Lascaux, which was done during the Paleolithic period.