Strange and Curious Permeations

“Strange and Curious Permeations”

My upcoming solo exhibition, “Strange and Curious Permeations” asks the viewer to consider how the growing acceptance of violence in our society contributes to the degradation of human dignity.

We continue to be appalled at the numerous acts of violence against black youth that carry no consequence.  A fearful helplessness pervades the thoughts of many who wonder, “What protection is available when those in authority who should be our protectors are free to kill black people at-will?”  What’s worse is the miserable failure of our legal system to bring justice; instead the rampant spread of “Stand Your Ground” and similar laws have served to open the door to legalized violence against those whose only crime is being seen while black.  Parents must now have what I call the “survival talk” with their children educating them on how to survive when confronted and NOT get killed by the police.

The Center of Juvenile and Criminal Justice ( states

“Overall, young African Americans are killed by cops 4.5 times more often than people of other races and ages.”

Works in the exhibition depict images of children at play painted in red, orange, and yellow—colors which society associates with warning.  Symbols, words, and popular icons as seen in the painting, “You Feelin the Rainbow?” depict the challenges our youth encounter when violence pervades every area of their lives.  Permeations are not only physical but social, emotional, and psychological.  Ultimately, the question that must be addressed is “What impact will violent acts against black youth have on their future outlook and how does this shape the way they live in the present?

Death by Skittles-You Feelin the Rainbow?

Death by Skittles-You Feelin the Rainbow?

The exhibition, “Strange and Curious Permeations” will be held at 2622 Gallery located at 2622 N. Wauwatosa Avenue (76th & Center) Wauwatosa, Wisconsin.  The opening reception is Friday, March 6, 2015 from 6 to 9 pm. It will feature poetry and spoken word by Carmen Murguia and Natalie Schmitting.  The exhibition runs through March 31, 2015.

Color Courage

As a visual artist I continue to challenge my courage for color.  I love color, period.  Well, is there such thing as too much color?  Is it ever more appropriate to use color than not?

I truly love to dance with color whereas color field artists conduct an orchestra with it.  Perhaps how color is used is solely dependent on the composition and emphasis of the piece—even though the artist may never voice this.  How many artists exist that do not know what colors they will choose at first—but decide along the way?  Others know from the start that it will be all about color and plan the piece based on the colors they want to use.  One color field artist friend of mine loves ‘playing’ with paint and is always reworking and changing colors.  Still some experiment—the first colors chosen are for swapped out for different ones—adopting a ‘devil-may-care’ attitude (hey, why not you can always gesso over mud).  Based on my current work (Children at Play) which uses color contrasts as part of the composition, I already know what colors I’ll use and how they will work to communicate what I’m trying to say.  The background colors I choose are just as important as the foreground or subjects’ colors. To avoid stagnation I strive to vary the intensity and effect making sure I have a good balance between dark and light tones with other elements of the piece.

The courage for me comes in being true to the piece and not letting my rampant color desires take over and disrupt what I’m trying to get to say to the viewer.  BUT, what about the unquenchable love for color that I told you I have?  Taking a “break” from my primary theme is a must for me.  This has been especially true of my recent Death by Skittles series—it can be too emotionally draining.  So I use printmaking, collage, mixed media, and fiber to get off on color.  Here’s one called Birds in Flight (mixed media) and Musing at Lake Serene (mixed media).

Birds in Flight

Birds in Flight

Musing at lake serene

Musing at Lake Serene

Um yes, it is possible to have color overload in a painting.  Just because you have access to every paint color variation in the rainbow doesn’t mean you have to use them all.  The eye can only take so much.  If many variations can be created from a few colors, why use 25 different ones.  I am sure—less is more.