Monday, November 26, 2012

Man with TV 1984/ before and after

My husband Bob and I have always had issues with the TV.  We are addicts, Bob worse than me.  We have tried different techniques over the years to try and keep our addiction under control, but now, past midlife, we have finally given in to the dark side and have a flatscreen TV and cable.  Our only nod to our addictive selves is that we don't have a huge TV, just a mid-size one--kind of on the smallish side.  This painting is about that addiction; the little TV with the rabbit ears our attempt to keep the importance of the TV to a minimum.  Of course we both watched it all the time, so it was kind of silly. 
I recently found a slide box full of before and after images, showing what the photographs looked like before I painted over them.  In this photo, Bob had collapsed on the couch, tired from doing some kind of physical labor. The painting is so much more elegant and interesting than the photograph, although you can see the connection between the two.  For example, one arm is "real", the other wiped so that the cushion on the sofa becomes the structure of the arm.  I think what is most interesting in Man with TV is that the painting reveals something that couldn't be described otherwise:  a reclining man in a gray world completely absorbed in the small square box in front of him.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Black Snake 1999

I hadn't seen "Black Snake" in quite some time, and had forgotten just how much I liked it.  I was visiting a friend who happens to have a large collection of my work, this being one of them.  We walked around to the different rooms with my paintings in them, and when we came to this one, I stood in front of it for quite some time.  My friend began to talk about the painting, and what it meant to her.  She talked about the snake and how it could mean so many things:  betrayal, heartbreak, money problems, rivalry, revenge.  She felt that each girl was reacting differently to the implied threat of what the snake meant.  I listened, fascinated.  When I made the painting I had photographed  my daughter, Ramey, when she was four with her younger friend, Emily.  They had been making faces, using their hands to twist their features into bizarre shapes.  Once I started combining the paint with the photographs of the girls, I realized that they needed something to look at, so I  added the little black snake.  I thought what my friend brought to the image was  more interesting than what I had thought about when I made the painting, and I liked that it spoke in a stronger, clearer voice living at her house than it had in mine.

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Rapture 2009

Rapture: The state of being transported by a lofty emotion; ecstasy. Free Online Dictionary

For many years my husband and I had a postcard stuck on our refrigerator door.  I loved the image.  Cars smashing, planes flying into buildings, little souls rising from their graves headed toward the big guy in the sky, his robe white and dress-like, similar to those of the small figures flying up to meet him.  It was the Rapture.  According to the Rapture is what happens when "True followers of Jesus Christ will be transformed into their spiritual bodies in the Rapture and taken from the Earth to be in Heaven with God. Non-believers will be left behind to face severe tribulation as the antichrist prepares to take his place ......How will the Rapture Occur?  According to several verses in the Bible, believers will suddenly, without warning, disappear from Earth in the "twinkling of an eye."  "

For years I've mulled over the idea that a group of people would believe that if they just followed the teachings of one person, in the "twinkling of an eye", all would be well.  They would be among the chosen that would zoom right on up to heaven, avoiding all the confusion and misery of what was to follow.  I've always known that I wouldn't be one of those fortunate people, but, really, who would want to belong to a group that would believe any of this?  My Rapture puts a different spin on things.  These followers of Jesus Christ are being tossed, helter skelter, to land, who knows where?  Heaven?  Maybe, maybe not. The beings left behind are the ones experiencing the true rapture, calm, but clearly filled with some kind of peace and presence. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Quarrel 2000

In November of 2000 I headed to my local polling station to vote for Al Gore for President.  I went to bed not knowing the outcome of the election, and when I woke up the next morning and turned on the news, I was none the wiser. The results from the state that would determine the outcome of the election, Florida, had been too close to call.  A mandatory machine recount was called for by Gore which still showed Bush ahead by almost 900 votes.  Gore requested a hand recount in the four liberal, most densely populated counties. 

For a month people dickered and argued and hurled accusations at each other.  Who were we to trust?  The Supreme Court in Florida was called in, overturning a state court decision not to extend the time limit to recount the ballots.  Then the US Supreme Court overuled that decision, which disallowed the recount. It was a horrible time for all of us, those citizens who had marched in on that Tuesday in November and cast our ballots.  There was anger and fear everywhere with the media painting a bleak and horrific picture of what could happen if we couldn't decide on a president. I was left with feelings of hopelessness and despair.  Why was it that this problem couldn't be solved in a way that didn't involve so much hatred and bitterness? It was the Quarrel to end all Quarrels, and gave us an inkling of what was to become of future politics in America.