... The mind is not satisfied, of course, so when the Pandemic hit, things about being a human came into focus. I started to think about narratives and what would it be like if there was a narrative in my work?
How does a narrative work? What if there is a story in the piece to be read, with all the components available and developed? I would tell people how I made work to people, and they would respond to it as a narrative, a story. So, I asked myself could I take all of that and put it in the tradition of drawing?
The work of a draftsman, that identity, has always been with me. I would make little drawings to hide in my garret. When I thought about making these drawings, they would be in contrast to the physical qualities of the larger works and the complexity of all these materials and methods (paint, sand, etc.)
Could I go back to just making black lines on paper? Is there a way to do that? Well, yes.
The drawings were a way for me to get the emotions of the pandemic to get that onto paper.
These have all the qualities of the paintings: science fiction, historical landscape painting, and now the dystopia of the pandemic, of nooses hanging from trees, they have qualities of people putting other peoples’ heads on stakes to vilify other humans as if there is some perfect way we should act.
There are multiple strains of pop culture showing up as well - like the Walking Dead. I think somehow this is a harbinger of our dissociation within ourselves. There’s nothing about the future in the Walking Dead - it’s about us now. The horror of it, the human degradation and hatred and all the extreme human emotions... All of this was brought out in the pandemic, highlighted by this distinct thread of science fiction, and constantly imagining the worst that could happen. You could get a glimpse of utopia in science fiction… and also, how we process alien culture.
One of the drawings, Liberty on the Beach references the last scene of the Planet of the Apes. You’ve got Charleton Heston on the beach riding away on a horse, and then the scene shifts and you are looking down in the crown of lady liberty at him on the beach and it’s a very abstract scene but you sense what you are looking through is, and as soon as you know what it is, you know you are then looking through … and you are looking up and she is washed up on the shore, and it’s the end of civilization and this is aftermath.
I’ve been referencing lady liberty’s headdress coming into some of the images just to reference that idea-- the end of civilization. It’s one of the important ideas of science fiction, what it tries to understand, and tries to have empathy for. There is a possibility that we can end ourselves. We know we have the ability to do that. For many thousands of years we’ve had this narrative to erase human life on the earth...