Depth Gauge, oil on textured modeling gesso, 48 X 60″
A painting of a frame from Das Boot showing a retro but lively-looking gauge, is framed with a cropped face from a frame in Inoshiro Honda’s Mothra (all time fave movie). The signal for the Honda image is breaking up, and at actual size is difficult to resolve, while the central image is softened with warm color and a glass semi transparent reflection of a guy in a suit. Combinations like this are suggested unconsciously and may or may not have any further import, but if they did, it would be decayed with translations into language. They are combined and composed in a non-language area of my brain.
In a fleeting role that became fossilized, James Aubrey played Ralph in William Golding and Peter Brook’s 1963 B&W version of Lord of the Flies. Subsequent versions, while less clumsy and more complex, have never been able to achieve anything close to the same effect as the ’63 version, which reads differently for sundry viewers in different decades under contemporary circumstances, like a bowl that is able to hold both soup or porridge. The character Ralph in print and in film has been a powerful icon for me and, I believe, for others of my generation. We watch crisp, white uniforms become bloodied rags as Innocence is lost in the course of the film. I referenced this particular frame for obvious reasons. I hoped for this painting to serve as a door through which people of my generation might glimpse the point when we first realized that we had lost our hold on childhood forever.
Subcommandante Marcos, oil on canvas, 18″ X 24″
During the George W. Bush presidency, the image of Ché Gueverra began appearing more and more frequently in T-shirts, tattoos and posters, magazine ads, in the background in movie sets and online postings. Alberto Korda’s photo has been around for more than a half-century, but there seem to be times when it is called upon to mean more than just an historical reference to the Cuban revolution. Along with Korda’s photos, images of Emiliano Zapata, Pancho Villa and Zapatistas also took on a new life. I remember in 1969 when the image of Mao Zedong became am modern icon. Soon afterwards Warhol used Mao, along with Marilyn and Elvis to show us our favorite commodified personalities. If we need a new one, the one that comes most readily to mind is Subcommandante Marcos, who is frequently in the press from other countries but almost never mentioned in the press in the U.S. He has published 2 books through City Lights Books of San Francisco, received college degree from U.S. institutions and successfully led uprisings in Chiapas for two decades, evading capture even while the Mexican army destroyed whole villages looking for him. Many corridos have been written about him and his friends. Surely he is a saint of our times or at least an icon equivalent of a modern Karl Marx. In researching images of him, nearly all have the pierced face covering and the pipe. I chose to not use the pipe because he is a mouthpiece for a people.I chose feminine colors because Homeland Security paints him as a terrorist, which I see as olive drab, and not fuscia. (I also wanted to connect him to the Virgen de Guadalupe.) I also made a high-contrast version of this for use on T-shirts in case anyone wants to use it.
Lincoln, oil on canvas, 30 X 40″
Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?
Photographs of Lincoln were more pictures about the century than pictures about the leader. But the sculpture by Daniel Chester French in the Lincoln Memorial, sitting as it does, high above our heads, is exactly evocative of a unflinching leader. I first painted it in black & white overlaying coloration later.
Swimmers 1962 X/O mixed media on paper 22″ X 30″