i have been invited to show work from this series with UMVA Monsters. The lens is adjusted somewhat from the point of my 2008 show, but still quite apropos to our current climate. Please find both the 2016 and the 2008 statements to follow:
EL PASO / THE PASS
reflection on and revisited 2016
This is an older body of work that is an exploration of borders, lines drawn in the sand and the foggy view of "us" and “them." This topic is so vast and complex, a few words written here seems almost futile, but here goes a finger tip poke at the gargantuan vapor. It is a recollection of thoughts and images growing up in a Southwestern border town. I was born in the United States but my cultural heritage/DNA/tribe/cultural influence spans a geography that predates the border. I happened to be borne out of the womb a few miles on this side of the border rather than on that side of the border. Reflecting on this happenstance is a mind bending abstraction. I like my country, and I am grateful for plopping out in this particular spot on this vey large planet. Of course I don't know any other experience, but I do feel fortunate to have been born in this country where most make the effort as a people to be free and just and good.
We have declarations, charters, articles, laws and great documents written as testament to what we as a country represent. I particularly love the poem, "The New Colossus" inscribed on the plaque of the pedestal where the Statue of Liberty stands. It partially reads:
"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
Back to the impetus for this body of work. I was moved to paint these images after the mass immigration raid in New Bedford Mass, 2007. It was a terrible, sloppy event. Families were swiftly torn apart, children's parents never returned home from work one day....oh well. Like so many other stories, this one was quickly swept under the rug. So that is that.
Almost ten years later, there is a larger looming threat facing our Nation with the upcoming election. There will be so much more of this and that. There are manipulative words used to sell divisiveness such as: softening, humane, pivot - as though the citizenry easily buys into the fickleness of the definition of a spewed word rather than the display of actual behavior.
There is so much made of us and them -- and on some level, especially egoic, I suppose there is. There is no utopia or ideal, only different interpretations of what that shining city upon the hill looks like - this leading to different means to a fictitious end. Strive on.
So much talk about this "wall" to keep "them” out. Keep "that" out. El Cucuy is taking our jobs, raping our women, just making our lives miserable. Once "we" keep "them" out, "we" will be great again, all fixed. A beautiful gated community!
I am not a fearful citizen living in this country, I am not afraid. I am more recently, however, concerned. Although aware of the complexity, I am not fearful of "them" (out there), but am growing in concern about what it could be like to be Walled In with a hateful, privileged, vocal minority that somehow garnered power between these four lines.