Queror 5, oil on tactical fabric, because like the existential suffering of those who have worn the uniform in war, the uniform never comes off.
Queror 4, oil on tactical fabric, because like the existential suffering of those who have worn the uniform in war, the uniform never comes off.
Queror 3, oil on tactical fabric, because like the existential suffering of those who have worn the uniform in war, the uniform never comes off.
Queror 2, oil on tactical fabric, because like the existential suffering of those who have worn the uniform in war, the uniform never comes off.
Five years ago I began working with veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Like me, they’ve survived extreme encounters with history and culture. I wanted my work to engage their unique perspectives while communicating some of the deep indebtedness I felt for their sacrifices.
Inspired by something a young vet suffering from PTSD told me, the Queror portraits are painted directly on tactical fabric used by the US military. Camo forms the fabric that grounds the subject, and like the existential suffering of those who have worn the uniform in war, it never comes off.
As I continue work on the Whistling Dixie series, I thought about Jasper Johns and his white targets.
I decided to revamp the worn-out pop image, so empty in gesture and meaning. I began by cutting up lyrics from “Dixie’s Land” as if I were creating a ramson note. The rest…well, see for yourself!
More from the Whistling Dixie series…
So why don’t I swim back home?
Because despite insults like this one…which was hurled at me by an ignorant racist in Miami Beach when I was still too intimidated to speak out against hate speech… I can read Hannah Arendt all I want and at the top of my voice without fear or persecution.
Here, I may have been insulted by more than one low-life, but I can breathe free here.
Not so back in Cuba.
Cuban artist Tania Bruguera was jailed by state security agents after staging a group reading of Hannah Arendt’s The Origins of Totalitarianism (1951) at her Havana home, where she’s been held in house arrest for months.
Carolina A. Miranda of The Los Angeles Times‘s reports that the concurrent Havana Biennial is up and running as usual…no boycotts. Why?
I have a theory. Because even though Bruguera’s an internationally recognized artist, she’s female, and not worth all that much. Oh and she’s hispanic too, so again, not as economically valuable. She’s just a spic-chic so yeah, art business as usual.
Some bigotries are more obvious than others. You know?
More new work from what I’m calling the Whistling Dixie series, from The Triumphs.
What, you don’t know The Triumphs? All new master series that like The Last Judgment is full of pockets of inquiries. Think of them as mini-series belonging to the core theme. If you want to see work from The Triumphs anywhere, you’ll have to go to Columbia City Gallery.
Meantime…here’s another piece from Whistling Dixie. Mixed media on target paper. The words come from a sign in a Florida cafe where my father, mother, brother, and I were kicked out of. Yup, all those holes come from my gunshots!
A peek at what’s new in the studio! From the Whistling Dixie series.
Some background….This spring, a local curator asked me to contribute to an installation dealing with issues of immigration and discrimination. In the end, he didn’t get the funding, so the work wasn’t installed but I created some interesting pieces.
An indelible aspect of the work is the violent energy embedded in the paper’s history. It is mixed media on real target paper. By the way, the words come from a popular bumper sticker in Miami. They are clearly meant to insult immigrants living in that culturally vibrant and diverse city.
Czeslaw Milosz’s words…always around and about in the back of my mind. They meander through my art journal, like a guest that came to visit and moved in. I open a door and find them there, looking in a mirror, stretched out on a couch, watering the plants on the window sill.