The Line (2016)
"Home? We can’t go home. There’s a line men like us have to cross. If we’re lucky, we do what’s necessary, and then we die. No… all I really want, Captain, is peace." -John Konrad
Spec Ops: The Line was a game developed during the conflict over use of white phosphorus, a weapon that can burn its victims to death, and has been seen as effective in battle. It features Americans fighting Americans, and can be perceived as anti-war, though it simply seems to have been developed to address the psychological consequences. One scene is noted for the choice awarded to the player, antagonist Martin Walker; utilize the white phosphorus weapon at your disposal, or die trying to save the missing service men you came to Dubai to rescue. After choosing to push on, the player makes the discovery that the weapon was successful, but killed many innocent civilians. It includes a cut scene depicting a woman clutching a child in death, their skin completely singed off. Towards the conclusion of the game, John Konrad, leader of the rogue 33rd Infantry that Walker has been sent to save, is revealed to have committed suicide out of guilt for the decisions he made, many exactly like the ones the player has just been lead to make. Walker experiences a hallucination (alluding to cases of PTSD in soldiers) of Konrad painting this mural on a wall. It asks the player, "Do you feel like a hero yet?"
I painted this as an homage to a friend's experience with the game, and changed a bit to reflect the connections I made with its symbolism. The woman holding a child reminds me of the classic pietà- mother Mary holding dying Jesus. Mary is commonly depicted in blue, hence the glowing permanence of the phthalo blue in her shirt. The game's underlying themes -misplaced heroism, the greater good- express to me the error in many human involvements; commitment to country, devotion to religion, promise of family/friendship. Heroism, valor, responsibility, and respect are all things that can be dangerous in the hands of a person meaning to do the most good.
Square Studies (2016)
Van Gogh Animals (2015)
Van Gogh Giraffe
"Leftover" can refer to many different things: what I pulled out of the fridge and reheated at lunch today, items remaining after a garage sale, discarded furniture on the side of the road, bodies without life, and memories of an event or season in life. The paintings are done in reference to food products and roadkill with the intention to evoke memory and visceral reaction. The beautiful colors and shapes that emerge from such bodily and often disgusting things tips an ironic cap to life circumstances.
I then learned to really look, and see that skin is not just a crayon-peach, but a greenish-red underneath. It contains hints of purple along the figure's thighs, and reflects a creamy light blue reminiscent of the night I stood at the water's edge and watched the shapes weave themselves among the ripples. I learned to look at what I see, not just what I know. That way, people and things are not plastic, but real; squishy to the touch and moldable like freshly-wetted clay.
Skin touches skin, it bruises when grabbed too hard. Wounds injure to the bone, far beneath that membrane of color I always think exists just under the fleshy outside. What exists when all of those layers are exposed for the whole world to see?
Figure Studies (2013)
Communion: Finding Blood (2013)
Yellow and red beets.
Red onion skins.
Existing Boundaries (2013)
Paintings are not afforded the spatial freedom granted to a sculptural object that simply “exists in space”. Paintings are usually laid out on stretchers as if they injured themselves. The intention of this work is to push the definition of painting and communicate the feeling of physical rather than illusionistic existence. I wish to push the mind’s boundary beyond the idea that an object needs to function in the form we understand it to be. This same notion of needing to belong in a category is enough to cause us pain. The painting peels itself off the stretcher to cry out in hurt. We, like the art we compare ourselves with, didn’t choose to come into the world and yet are expected to perform and fit well. This art speaks for itself, but passes the microphone to you. It wants to know how existence has hurt you and what is expected of you. The painting is healing, but its existence still hurts.
Gail Matthews (2013)
On the left is an oil copy of Gail Matthews' photo, a woman was 23 years of age and last seen on April 10, 1983 around 6 p.m. near South 216th Street and Pacific Highway South.
Her body was found on September 18, 1983 at South Star Lake Road and 51st Avenue South.
She was killed by Gary Ridgeway, known as the Green River Killer. Photos of victims: here.
For more information on prostitution and sex trafficking in the Seattle area, and for an all around informative and striking film, watch Rape For Profit.