I will be showing 2 pieces from my new ink on panel portrait series that examine the current social and political environment and put contemporary elements in context with historical events. I use the text from government documents or declarations from the past and use those words as my mark to make portraits of people standing strong in the face of government oppression.
The show will run Aug 22-Nov 21. 2019, in The W. Keith & Janet Kellogg University Art Gallery on the Cal Poly Pomona campus
Opening is Saturday September 7th, 2019 from 2-5 pm
This is a portrait is of my grandfather depicted as he was waiting to board a bus to the Internment camps for Japanese Americans during World War II. The photograph I referenced for the portrait was taken by Dorothea Lange as she and Ansel Adams were commissioned to document the internment of Japanese Americans. This portrait and how it relates to what is happening now was the starting point for this series. There is a common connection that is at once deeply personal and at the same time universal that I hope will inspire dialog and further research on the viewers behalf.
Using one of Toyo Miyatake’s iconic photographs from Manzanar as a reference I utilize words as my mark to reinterpret his image to show strength in the face of oppression. The words are Executive Order 9066 which authorized the imprisonment of West coast Japanese Americans and Executive Order 9102 which established the War Relocation Authority who oversaw the internment.
|Also opening on Sept 7th in Taipei, Taiwan at Bluerider Art I will be part of a four person show where I will showcase four pieces from my water series where I have been exploring the power of waves and capturing a single moment of a dynamic force that might reveal an abstracted human form. I render the waves using up to 200 coats of transparent layers of paint that have light glowing from the back as well as white highlights in the foreground that make up the abstracted human forms.|
Sep. 7th to Oct. 20th
Ren Ai Gallery Hall 10in
“Paul” is the grandson of Juanita ”Holy-named Woman” Left-Hand. Juanita, a Native American woman was one of the last speakers of the dialect spoken by her tribe, the Assiniboine. Born around 1896, she witnessed the long battle to maintain traditional Indian life on the reservation as it was fought and lost. Juanita was overjoyed when historians came to ask her help in transcribing the dialect and the traditional Indian stories and their accompanying hand gestures. Those transcriptions, as well as her traditional beadwork designs and dolls now reside in the Smithsonian Institution Archive.
The text is the Indian Removal Act of 1830, which mandated all Indian Nations in the southern states to be relocated west of the Mississippi. This document was one of the opening salvos to the systematic dismantling of native cultures and that relocation resulted in what is known as the “Trail of Tears” which decimated the populations of the southern Indian Nations.
“Paul” 60″x 37″ Ink on panel
This is my brother Blaine. He died by a gun 15 years ago. He and I grew up shooting in youth clubs and his passion throughout his life was competitive target shooting.
The words are the NRA bylaws.
“Blaine” 60″ x 37″ Ink on panel
Mike was drafted into the army in 1968 during the Vietnam War. He served in the 1st Calvary as a helicopter gunner and was shot down by a rocket after 8 months.
The text Is The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution of 1964 which authorized the use of conventional military forces in Vietnam without a Declaration of War by Congress. 1968 was the year of the Tet Offensive which proved to be the turning point of U.S. involvement.
“Mike” Ink on panel 60″ x 37″
Angelin is the daughter of my friends who are first generation Mexican Immigrants.
The text is the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 which was the first federal law to ban an entire ethnic group from immigrating to the United States
“Angelin” Ink on panel 60″ x 37″
The dynamics of moving water reveal an unseen treasure
A wave breaks in the deep blue sea revealing prone figure that vanishes as quickly as it appears
I am getting closer to depicting the human form in my latest water series. I use hundreds of layers of subtle color to bury the light deep in the painting.
Another piece in an ongoing series interpreting water and its movement and interaction with air. I am playing with value and color. Specifically, the background is closer in value to the following layers depicting air. Most of the light and form are from the back.
A continuation of my exploration of water.
This is Justine, in the 1930’s her great grandmother moved her family from New York to the Watts neighborhood in south Los Angeles amid a backdrop of intense racial discrimination. One of the many faces this discrimination took was in the form of housing covenants, deed restrictions and extralegal measures that restricted minorities from living in many parts of Los Angeles. They were limited by covenants as well as a narrow access to financing known as redlining. These covenants were a part of southern California housing since the late nineteenth century and they were struck down partially in 1948 and then completely in 1953.
The words I chose to use in the formation of this portrait are sections from current residential deeds that still to this day contain the covenants restricting ownership to whites only, though they lack any legal standing. I also chose to use the words from the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Justine stands as a testament to her family’s strength and tenacity in the face of a system of governance that is biased against them.
“Justine” 60″x37″ Ink on panel
This is Elon, “My father survived the Holocaust but lost his entire immediate family. His mother and two sisters were victims of an SS roundup and mass execution. His father was killed by Ukrainian militia, right in front of him. It’s my responsibility to bear witness for all of them.”
The words are the Nuremberg Race Laws of 1935. The Nazis implemented these laws to ostracize, discriminate and expel Jews from German society.
Elon stands in defiance of this injustice.
The weight of history is carried by the generations that follow. May we never repeat this history
60″ x 37″ Ink on panel
Given the weight of the news of the day I wanted to post an image and idea out there. This is an image from Elon Shoenholz’s photo archive documenting the protest marches that have occurred since November 2016. She was photographed in the first protest march following the elections. The marks that form the drawing are the words of the Declaration of Sentiments from 1848, which is one of the first documents to claim equal rights for women. It marked the beginning of the women’s rights movement.
60″x37″ Ink on panel
This is the third in a series of six I plan on doing in this format 60?x37″.
I met “Marcus” sleeping on the streets at Venice and West Ave. and I started thinking about homelessness and the feeling of being powerless. I knew I wanted to draw him and wanted to depict him as an equal in the eyes of our government. I choose to use the text from the Bill of Rights as my mark as it reaffirms the ideas of individual rights and equality that are the values upon which our nation was built. Portraying him seated filling half the frame lets him represent the inequity that is our reality.
60″ x 37″ Ink on panel
Wonderful Review in Fabrik by Jimmy Centeno
This is a portrait of my grandfather drawn from a photograph taken in 1942, by Dorothea Lange when she was commissioned to photograph Japanese Americans being interned during the start of the US entry into World War 2. The marks are the text from Executive Order no. 9066 which established military areas excluding those of Japanese descent and establishing the internment camps.
I only met my grandfather in the hospital briefly as he died when I was very young. Drawing him was a way of getting to know him and imagining what he was thinking as he was led to an unknown future. Historical context is everything but hopefully by reaching back into history we might someday learn from our misplaced fear. Letting hatred go unchecked will only burn us alive
60″x37″ ink on panel
Original Dorothea Lange Image:
Another in my series of portraits that attempt to depict current social and political extremes. This is a portrait of my neighbor in my apartment building. The marks are made from me writing out all of Trump’s tweets from inauguration day until September 25th, 2017, 1550 entries. I stopped on that date because the piece was done.
60″ x 37″ Ink on panel
Mistake and struggle are the pathways to new beginnings. Another piece in my water series.
My show at George Billis Gallery LA has been extended to July 1st. This is the last week to view the show, please stop by.
Please stop by if you are in town, the show looks good.
Opening Saturday May 20th, 5-8pm at George Billis Gallery , Los Angeles
My friend Gary came by for a studio visit:
Every time I make a mark its like being in a place I have never been