Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Slave Trade Was Free Trade

A Statement

I believe that visual traditions and themes create a kind of language that exerts a powerful effect on social consciousness. I am interested in the Western landscape tradition, especially in its ability to distance the viewer from the outdoors and other people.

When exploring themes with ecological content, searching for different visual languages for landscape, I have been inspired by many traditions including contemporary pattern and decoration strategies, Roman and Byzantine mosaics, Japanese decorative art, indigenous Australian paintings and the shrine technologies of many cultures. The term biocenology is useful because it is the study of communities and member interactions in nature.

These acrylic and mixed media paintings in the series, The Slave Trade was Free Trade, incorporate the words of Frederick Douglass, the 19th century US orator. Inspired by the writings of historian
Robin Blackburn, The Overthrow of Colonial Slavery and The Making of New World Slavery, I was interested in identifying the intersections of human activity, economics and culture, ecosystems and geologic presence. I am trying to develop a visual and symbolic language to express the contradiction of diversity and overlapping multiplicity within a culture whose dominant ideology expresses conflict in individualism and capitalism. Paintings are framed as if laboratory specimens, reflecting the culture’s attempt to contain such truth and control it.
January 2002