These paintings began to emerge while I was in graduate school. Seeing them together like this intensifies their impact for me. Each is a flower, grown from the seeds of awareness of what I experience as man's inhumanity to man. Some have such obvious thorns, like “Tic Tac Toe” and “Death Every Day” that I can barely look at them. But, I shudder to think what health issues might have erupted for me if all the charged emotion hadn't found expression through the paintings.
Each painting was in response to some trigger related to our culture and/or world. The first two, “Tomahawk” and “Gut Reaction” reflect on Gulf War dynamics. “Vigilance,“ “Legacy,” and “The Price” portray the relationship of one's own life and spirit to that created by the devastations and bones of the others who came before us.
“Holy Shit” fermented and cultivated within me following 9/11 and a visit to the World Trade Center site soon thereafter before the rubble was cleared or the holes in the streets were closed back up. All the visual horror of that day, the plethora of images, and the stories of human to human support and caring that flooded our consciousnesses erupted on this large canvas more than a year later. I don't know what I would have done without it. Grief needs a place to be expressed.
So does horror. And revulsion. And so came “Tic Tac Toe, Three in a Row” in response to Abu Ghraib and “Death Every Day, Everyday Death” in response to the Iraq and Afghanistani emigrations. The meaning of “Preying and Praying” is still a bit mysterious to me but seems to be about greed and domination.
Such is my garden of pain that keeps saving my life and health through its expression. I hope you will experience similar benefit through viewing it.