The Social Series-
An Visitor's commentary on social issues
At an exhibit of the this group of works, "The Social Series," a woman
walked slowly through the gallery. Stopping before each piece, she
would stand about eight feet away from it, staring intently. She would
then move in closely and examine it from mere inches. At one point
she actually sniffed at one of the stuffed animals in "Elephants Never
Forget." All told, she spent almost an hour in just that one room with
the (then) eight works. As she left, she jotted a note in the
sign-in/suggestion book I had in the gallery:
"Art should be beautiful and pleasing
to the eye. These are neither."
Not wanting to embarrass her, I didn't mention that I was the artist. But
I noted the large amount of time she spent examining them; she must
have gotten something from the experience. She said that she would
never hang anything like these in her living room, they were too
disturbing and would make her think too much.
"Maybe," I told her, "that is exactly what the artist was trying to do.
When was the last time you spent an hour looking at a calendar?"
"Roadkill"- The Social Series started when I had to stop to remove a
huge piece of truck tire from the roadway. I started to just toss it onto the
shoulder, next to some discarded beer cans.
A scenario popped into my head of the drunk driver, on his way to committing
vehicular manslaughter, just tossing those empties out of his careening sedan.
I picked up the cans and, along with the tire tread, tossed them into the back
of my truck. My thought was, "Now, what can I do with THIS?"
I made the beer can the victim.
[48" x 36" x 5" acrylics on hardboard, with rubber, found objects]
"Not So Grate to Be Home" tells a story of
"If not by the grace of God, go I."
The small things we do or encounter can make all the difference.
A thin blanket and a cardboard box for shelter. A bit of newspaper
for a pillow (the date on the employment section is December
25th). And a steam grate are not a great place to have to live.
[48" x 36" x 5" acrylics on hardboard, with wood,cloth, paper,
This piece was used as a showcased artwork to highlight the
2007 Annual Freddie Mac Caregivers' Awards presentation of a
large grant to Community Ministries of Montgomery County (MD)
(now Interfaith Works!) for their work on behalf of the homeless.
"Cracked" came about because a life-long friend got himself
entangled for years in the grips of drugs, alcohol and cigarettes. The
flat-lined EKG tape is his portrait- he's dead now.
[48" x 24" x 8" acrylics on hardboard, with foam head]
"Elephants Never Forget" illustrates the cycle of the
abused child becoming the abuser adult. The trajedy of abuse is most
often a learned behavior that continues through family generations.
This horror is depicted in the torn and twisted stuffed animals and
dolls, the pretty death's head butterflies, and the "boogeyman" pose of
the shadow. The shadowy figure can be seen as either male or female,
parent or grown child. The title came quite incidentally from the sponge
elephant wallpaper pattern I applied to the background.
[51" x 37" x 15" acrylics on hardboard, with wood, cloth, found objects]
"Freedom of Choice" got its title from an ad promotion by the
7-11 chain. A neighbor had his Mercedes vandalized while parked in front
of his house. While not a victim of a violent personal attack, it nevertheless
left him feeling angry, violated and helpless. The many victims of street
crime usually have no 'freedom of choice' My neighbor gave me the
damaged grill he replaced, which became the catalyst for the piece.
[60" x 48" x x 8" acrylics on hardboard, with paper, found objects]
The eighth piece in the series, "Out of Sight, Out of Mind"
was the largest in the series, [98" x 59" x 17" acrylic on hardboard with
wire, found objects] and dealt with the degradation we inflict upon our
environment. It followed a small stream from its pristine headwaters in
the mountains, down through towns, and then cities, ending as a foul,
trash-filled swamp that could not begin to sustain even a hint of life. The
piece was destroyed when a leak in the storage area soaked it and it
was eaten away by molds and rot.
Life imitates art.
George Lucas Art
a very low res picture. Sorry
"Federal Solution" was originally about the EPA "Superfund"
to clean up toxic waste sites left by industries, but with the budget
events of today's government expenditures in mind, this piece can as
easily be all about government overspending in general.
[53" x 36" x 11" acrylics on hardboard, with wood, paper, found objects]
about the Social Series
"Day at the Shore" was created during the time tons of medical
waste were washing up onto the New Jersey beaches, or the shore.
A quiet family outing with children splashing in the water should not be
disrupted by tangles of tubes, bags and syringes. Since 1983, after
more than five billion dollars spent on cleaning up pollutions of all kinds,
our Chesapeake Bay still only rates a grade of "D" for water quality.
[42” x 32” acrylic on canvas with found objects to floor]