Jackson, Billy Morrow
Oil on Masonite
48 x 72 inches
Wichita Art Museum, Museum purchase, Wichita Art Museum Members Foundation
Not Currently on Display
About the Artwork
The painting Moments is a panorama of life in the American town of Wichita, Kansas. The scene is accurately rendered but buildings which actually do exist in Wichita are placed at entirely different sites than depicted. The Eaton Hotel (at far left) is known for the bar in which Carry Nation wrecked havoc (with rocks, not a hatchet) upon the John Noble painting Cleopatra at the Bath which prompted one imbiber to say, “Lady, y’ought to have a hatchet.” Two buildings to the right is the Sternburg House (1886) which exemplifies the scores of Victorian houses still standing in Wichita.
Jackson examines passing time as seen in the patches of snow near green grass as well as figures dressed in winter clothes and others in summer attire. Time is compressed with the Conestoga covered wagon and a modern automobile on the same side of the street. The sense of time passing is also present in the deep, long shadows and in the man, who is glancing at his wristwatch as he hurries across the street. Many figures appear to be waiting and watching activities that lay outside of the boundary of the pictures.
Under a billboard of rural Kansas is a wall painting of four U.S. presidents. The supporting pole visually divides the images of the two Republicans from the two Democrats. Thirty-eight figures are represented, all playing out their respective roles in the drama of everyday life. They include men, women, White, Black and Indian, a cowboy, a businessman, laborers, shoppers and the historical figure of Carrie Nation carrying a bible as well as a hatchet. To the left of Carrie Nation is the former Wichita Art Museum Director, Howard E. Wooden. He is holding blueprints for the 1977 museum renovation under his arm.
The figure at the far right holding a sketchpad and pencil is a self-portrait of the artist. This painting was commissioned for the Wichita Art Museum permanent collection by the women volunteers.