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By Karen Nikos-Rose on January 31, 2019

The opening reception of UC Davis alum Tavarus Blackmon’s “Exquisite Diversion” is Friday, Feb. 1, 6 to 9 p.m., at  Verge Center for the Arts, 625 S Street, Sacramento.  It’s part of a double show with “The Amazing Black-Man,” artist Kumasi Barnett’s interpretation of the Marvel Comics’ character.  

Artist Blackmon exhibits under “Blackmonster,” a surname that speaks to his work’s exploration of challenging themes, such as fatherhood and identity, gun violence and growing up black in America.

Blackmon, a recent MFA graduate and Provost Fellow at UC Davis and current resident artist at Headlands Center for the Arts in Marin, creates work across a variety of media — painting, video, digital and printmaking — and balances lively imagery and colors with somber issues like gentrification and debt.

His paintings on paper and wood incorporate various elements to reach completion. Sometimes this means combining various papers through adhesion or, can even entail stapling a hand-made costume to a sheet of painted plywood. This notion of combining elements is meant to catapult the work. It exists in a painting language but can include additional discourse, such as craft or design.

The main influence for the work is Blackmon’s family who have provided him with the opportunity to create the work, but also inspired much of his creative output. Creating work through the lens of fatherhood means his studio and home life are rarely in conflict: they always seem to overlap. This work is about creating a way to solve a problem and making a better place for his family. Blackmon sees painting as a way to solve his problems. Confusing, perplex, complex: it’s how Blackmon sees the world and his work, exquisite and diverting, according to a Verge description of the art.

The exhibition is viewable through March 24.

A story on Blackmon is here.

See more, and listen to Blackmon on capradio.