Ink on Died Canvas
78¼ x 51½ inches
Thirteen years later, I still consider this piece to be one of the most significant breakthroughs of my early artistic development. It was made in 1995 through a process of hand dying raw canvas, which was then brushed with ink. Titled Curtains, it’s an overtly political work which solidified my tendency to map imagery into adjacent relationships and unlikely contexts.
At the time it was created, academia was still trying to explain the collapse of the Soviet Union. Having read several books by Michael Parenti and becoming more and more influenced by the obsessive drive of artist Robert Gober, I set out to do a piece that tied together (quite literally as it turned out) some thoughts on politics, media, and culture.
There are four repeating images on this loose canvas, which when hung properly could appear to be working curtains to a non-attentive passerby. On the left hand side in red is a recognizable portait of Stalin set against the backdrop of the Sputnik satellite. On the right in brilliant blue is a map of a country with a legend that reads Panama, 1989. It’s checkered by a bottle from the popular sitcom I Dream of Jeanie.
It dances around, tumbling and emitting smoke as if to foretell a future spelled out in mystery, war, and deception.