Wednesday, April 21, 2010

What I've been working on, Vol. I

I have an interesting opportunity to be part of an art show in Chicago. I will be making a formal announcement soon. For now I'd like to show some of the work I've been doing and my thought processes leading up to the show. Do you remember my post about Andy Warhol's Electric Chair series? (see previous post here). I've been having a lot of fun reconsidering those works and have done several digital mock-ups of a new series based on this work.
In considering the work, I thought about politics. Artists continually grapple with how political to be in their work. When you are political you run the risk of rejection and cruel silencing techniques. Some people just want to see pretty pictures. I can't argue that I am a lover of beauty and I find nothing wrong with beauty for beauty's sake. And while I may find a challenging piece interesting, in my home I like beauty. Beauty is always a factor in my art. That said, I maintain that artists have a certain responsibility to be political because of their acute sensitivity and perception. Indeed, all art is political. In my opinion, art is a balance between beauty and politics.
With the new series, I examined how far I wanted to go with my politics. I personally do not believe in the death penalty, and considered my reasons. The obvious - killing is wrong. Two wrongs don't make a right. Cliche, I know, but that doesn't mean it's not true. I have found arguments claiming the death penalty as a deterrent utterly unconvincing. But my main objection - what if an innocent man is put to death? I would rather see 100 guilty men go free than see one innocent man executed. My thoughts then turned to innocence. And what's more innocent than a child? I began to experiment with double exposures, using an image of my nephew and my first series of Sans Electric Chair paintings. Here is what I came up with:

Sans Electric Chair, II, 2010, digital renderings. I am pleased with these works even though they won't be part of the art show I am participating in. I like that he sort of looks like a butterfly emerging. My sister-in-law loves these so much she is going to have them printed on canvas and is commissioning me to do a series featuring my other nephew. I'll be sure to show you photos of them hanging in their home. For more of my fascination with Warhol, click here.
All images by Peggy.


Unknown said...

What a great post. I love them all but the first one really grabs me. I love the palette and how abstracted it is. First I have to say, I agree with you on that issue for the same reasons. As for politics and art, personally this is something I've thought a lot about and I think my conclusion at the moment is that I'm not mature enough in my adult opinions to take that leap... just yet. Funny enough in my twenties oh I had opinions alright and no problem expressing them! haha But looking back they were shallow in their understanding of complexity and gray scales. I think I put elements into my work now that might be a little subversive - a hint towards certain freedoms and rights. Anyway, enough about me - I am so excited to see how this project will evolve. I love your work and your writing!

Peggy said...

Hi Jessica, thanks so much for the thoughtful comment. Yes, politics and art is a fine balance. In my youth I wanted to hit people over the head with my opinions. I still great love my opinions :), but I want to express them in a softer way.

It meant so much to me that you liked the work, and I hope you will also like my latest painting. It seems of late, I am always thinking of your work when I am painting. You are definitely one of my influences.

kim. said...

Congrats on the art show Peggy!!! That's awesome!!!

Peggy said...

Thanks, Kim. I'll be sure to email you the press release once I receive it.


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