Saturday, February 21, 2015

Under The Category of Sometimes You Just Can't Win

I refer, of course, to the notion that I close my painting blog, open my writing blog, and now all I can think about these days is painting.

Some time ago there was a discussion about painting the most controversial players of the Arab Spring and having them annotated.  Guys like Bashar al-Assad and Saddam Hussein and, somewhat more distantly, the Shah of Iran.  This was shelved for a number of reasons, not the least of which was the notion, recently reinforced by the Charlie Hebdo tragedy, that some people don't have a sense of humor and it wasn't a great idea to paint these guys, let everybody write what they want on the paintings (which here in America was likely to be negative), and then wait around for the jihad to knock on the door.

Nothing good was going to come of that.

Nonetheless, while the original mulling was going on I took the idea for a spin and painted former Libyan strong-man Muammar Gaddafi.  Which I titled No One Writes to the Colonel.  Which I thought was strong.  But I didn't feel like I got a lot of traction with the annotations and so I kind of stepped away.

Waste not want not.

I've recently been thinking that the idea remains a good one, although a fundamental change of direction might be a good idea.  Thus, through the magic of Artrage, these two bad boys ...


One of the not-as-yet-fully-realized trains of thought is shooting for a 60s psychedelic throw-back vibe, and there's a Sergeant Peppery feel to the bottom one that fits that bill and makes me happy.  As for the top one, I'm trying to tap into a Japanese woodcut kind of a thing -- the Zen of which (completely wrong use of that word, although Zen is one of those words that everybody mis-uses) offers a nice counterpoint to the general nastiness of Colonel Gaddafi.

In the end, combining a painting with some Artraging (at least at the level of my computer talents) is an imperfect process.  The results are better as explorations of ideas than as works of art in and of themselves.  Obviously.  Nonetheless, I am a bit fired up about the whole thing.

I can't find a picture of it right now, but years ago I did a series of works involving an actual wedding dress attached to the canvas with a spray of flowers coming out of it.  You have to see it to believe it, but somewhere in there was something that ended up somewhere in all this.

Plus, I've been thinking about Kehinde Wiley, although this idea preceded my thinking about him.  I would, however, like to get to the Brooklyn Museum to see his big show.  Check out the review here.  I'm a fan.

This floats around in the mix as well ...

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