On two occasions over yesterday, I had long protracted conversations about the work. It has become clear, that people, especially those paying attention to details, are bringing their own stories and narratives to the work. Often it is a mix of anecdotal evidence tied to what private school they attended or dogma they subscribe to. Especially in west LA. To be clear, these works do not take a side. That is up to the viewer. My beliefs as an artist tend to be quite liberal. Not quite enough for the west LA crowd, that quote Marxist theory, but in general, we are in the same camp. But fuck, do they like to argue, confirm and signal, hoping for the same virtuous validation, reinforcing the value of said dogma or education. And if there is a crowd …even better. However, emotions run high and people get defensive when challenged with ideas. Especially in this current atmosphere.
As an artist, I am doing the thing that we should all strive to do. I am both challenging and reinforcing individual beliefs. The nature of this work asks questions and, if people are really paying attention, can start a real dialog. I like to go much deeper than “That looks nice next to my sofa.” Sure, the viewer has to be open. I know I limit my audience, based on this conundrum. Some people don’t want to be challenged, especially if they have to pay for it. Who wants to spend money to have something hang on a wall that questions their belief system? Not many. It takes a certain buyer, who is both self confident, yet open and able to hear another story, or at least consider another set of parameters in which alternate versions of ones belief system can exist. Two things really can be true and exist at the same time.
I never intended for controversy to be a part of these works, but, given the times we are in, maybe I should have known better. The autodidactic research into the history of the currency and countries involved in the paintings, existed in a vacuum. I studied, read, drew my own conclusions, compared notes and confirmed with sources for accuracy. However, that leaves out a big part of the story. The human aspect of what people went through during these times of upheaval. The realities of the situations for the people involved, were much greater than any research can convey.
Just know my fellow liberals, west LA and beyond, I share your value set. I suffer from needing to be the smartest person in the room … and so do you. If you are uncomfortable with narratives that differ from your own, that means I am doing it right. I guess I could paint golf courses, sea scapes and other nonsense banality, but then …what do we learn about ourselves from that?
For the ChatGpt 4.0 re work, click here >>
Its quite fascinating.