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.