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.

Embracing Art’s Healing Power

Life experiences are a mixed bag at best!  As we continue to live each of us will have our share of “life” and there’s no way of getting around it.  I think the reality of having to deal with emotions that arise from these experiences is what is most troubling.

You’ve heard the saying time is a great healer—well the pen and paper, easel, clay, sketchpad, etc., can be too.  This year provided much fodder for creativity as well as any other year that’s come and gone before it.  On both inter- and intrapersonal level I, like you have had my share of the good, the bad, and the ugly.  In addition, the events that have happened around us—the things that come from without and which we have no control over—continue to impact our present and future outlook as we respond to life experiences.  As an optimistic realist I have had both growth and decline in my emotional, social, and spiritual life this year.

Gratefully, we artists have a way to vent and express our joy and sorrows.

One of the ‘without’ experiences that has affected my life forever was the outcome of the Trayvon Martin case.  Looking at it from strictly a human level—

a person’s life was taken

             by another

without vindication…period

From this outcome a sobering reality was once again brought home to bear along with far-reaching historical and present-day ramifications for the Black community.  A deep-seated inconsolable pain emerged which threatened to overtake and turn me toward a dark path.  And since the legal system in our society failed miserably to bring to justice a person responsible for the crime could it be that a person didn’t do it?  If no one did it, then it had to be Skittles.  That’s right Skittles killed Trayvon!  Thus my series “Death by Skittles” was born.

Death by Skittles--confrontation

Death by Skittles–confrontation

Without going through the litany of whys; what could be and what is, I simply know that for me the ability to release my sorrow and pain through the use of media is what is bringing healing from this tragedy.  By God’s grace I’m moving on and in my small way I will continue to address the societal problems and issues; the inequities and poor influences that affect, plague, and short-circuit our children’s paths towards a healthy future.

Death by Skittles--He's Gone

Death by Skittles–He’s Gone

From the time I started, a number of paintings, collages, writings, etc., have emerged.  I have shared a few with you.  And yes, I create art that communicates the good as well as bad.  Today someone needed to know about the ugly.

Death by Skittles-You Feelin the Rainbow?

Death by Skittles-You Feelin the Rainbow?