Herbert Singleton, an artist who spent 14 years in Louisiana prisons for a range of offenses, scrawled “hEAVEN hELP US ALL” in white against his wood-carved, painted relief of a funeral procession. A tree in the background with only one thick branch looks as if it's pointing the way to the mausoleum, and the woman walking beside the bright gold casket looks gut-wrenchingly sad, even though the colors around her are fantastically bright. It's not the lack of training that makes him or others in the California African American Museum's current show of self-taught artists from the South impressive. It's the efficacy and urgency of the images. Singleton, heaven-and-hell-obsessed Leroy Almon and self-styled historian Sam Doyle taught themselves exactly what they needed to know to express what they wanted to. 600 State Drive, Exposition Park; through April 6. (213) 744-7432, caamuseum.org.

Tuesdays-Sundays. Starts: Oct. 3. Continues through April 6, 2013
(Expired: 04/06/14)

LA Weekly