THE LUCK OF THE DRAW
Studio installation, Poughkeepsie Underwear Factory, March 29- July 27, 2017; (25) 12 x 16 / 16 x 12 oil paintings and 3,477 hatch marks in chalk; wall 7.5' x 11'
The Luck of the Draw, a collection of oil studies appropriated from news imagery, reprocessed and represented as portraits, hangs on a backdrop of hatch marks that represent people otherwise forgotten, uncounted. This body of work stems from the question: Why was I born in this life, in this body, and not another? I collect, copy, resize and reinterpret news imagery from many highly circulated sources, then working from passport photo sized images I render outlines and free paint in oil. I look deeply, asking why them and not me? I identify, as though I am the camera, the friend or family member documenting events, taking snapshots, or staging portraits. It connects to my roots, seeing the world through eyes of photography. I feel a responsibility to pay tribute.
The hatch marks have been in my visual language for decades and have become an active form of meditation. In this work the hatch marks represent human population; in my heart everyone deserves a mark. There are more than three times the amount of people on the planet today than on the day I was born. I began an attempt to make a scroll with one mark each human being on the planet, in earnest, and got lost in the abstraction of counting. The more immersed I have become in this re-photography, rendering my subjects in the slow process of oil portraiture, the deeper my awareness of what has become of the language of photography, the assault of images, the sheer profusion and consequent compassion fatigue.
My hope is that viewers will relate to these painted images as equally human beings and reconsider their reactions, be moved and connected to commonality rather than superficially processing the images as just news.