Friday, July 4, 2008

War Paintings

"Forfeit", 2004, 14" x 36"
This painting was originally about the nonchalant surrender of liberties and principles; the groupthink; the discarding of real things in exchange for a myth of security and honor. I should have had them leaving with little car flags.

"Impending Liberation", 2004, 14" x 30"

I did keep going with this one, see below, but the "This won't do" was removed from the final version.
" Conscription of Venus", 2005, 14" x 18"
"Armed With Good Intentions", 2005-6, 18" x 16"

The background figures have a Spanish Inquisition look going, flag reads "make it right". The pointy bubble reads "let it be". This was later reworked, de-texted, de-politicized and retitled "Gaiety Portal".

I pulled these up after a conversation over on MW Capacity.

At the time, I couldn't not address these issues, but I had mixed feelings about the work. I did have one piece which was much more of a direct political "statement". I had been working on a 3' x 4' painting, and I scrawled "War is Good" across it. I was frustrated with the complete lack of challenge all around me, the lock step "patriotic" acceptance. I thought, is there anything that will make people stop and question anything about this invasion? I thought surely if someone just bluntly declares "war is good", then you'd get some sort of "no, of course it's not good, but...". I didn't care what came after the 'but', I just wanted to hear "it's not good" in some context.

Unfortunately I chose a poor context for display. It was a salon-hung, all-hung show with the war as the theme. My painting was hung way up high in an unlit corner. You could not read the script. Later, the gallery owner discussed the painting with me, and I was stunned to realise he thought I truly meant the war was good, that this was my message, and that I was sending a counter message to all the work in there that dared such statements as a poster of Cheney with "Fuck You" on it.

It's very hard to make decent, noncomical, politcal art.

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