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Social Studies?

Social Studies?

Words about:

Red Carpet, oil on linen, 48×40, 2010.

Cult of celebrity, paparazzi, manufactured stars, adoration of the Hollywood types, media scrutiny of the celebrity, ogling, raise you up and tear you down, and enjoying the process as a spectator sport. I am aware of the portrayal of the ideal, versus the reality of people as human, not gods. Also I think that the masses are diverted from real issues, “reality TV” takes us away from focusing on reality, or the necessity to deal with real issues. We have TMZ, Entertainment Tonight, People magazine etc etc   So many things, is it best to just stay dumb? I too am curious about the stars, and follow a certain celebrity all the time… fun and weird! … and laugh at my own interest in things that really don’t matter to me…. We all need a diversion, something to take us to another place, real or imagined… I liked the idea of making the male ’star’ a little befuddled by the adoring fans… a little mocking of the stars going on too. And yet we all need to have a mirror to check in with ourselves as well…  Baby you’re a star!  – MA notes on paintings

Words about:

Good Citizen, oil on linen, 42×54, 2005.

Good Citizen, painted post 9-11, watching tons of news on Television and surfing the web…  Here good citizen, picking up her poo, doing her social duty, spies in trees, surveillance, sewer, rebel teen, and a figure to the left looking out of window to see what is happening outside after getting a view of the world through the internet, yahoo… there is a secretive meeting under an umbrella table, a woman veiled in a burka, a man on a roof ready to drop a bomb, and man hiding in tree to show the absurdity of it all. ‘potential of attack was imminent’ according to some gov alerts…terrorism was the word of the day for a couple of years it seemed.

With this painting I was trying to process all the things going on in the world. And living in a Vancouver suburb, just seeing the good citizen picking up after her dog, oblivious to the crazy world around…. Like Plato’s story, The allegory of the cave, where people in a cave looking at shadows on the wall, and trying to describe reality from the observation of shadows, as opposed to them turning to see the source, which is the fire itself. There are many shadows. Trying to put it all together can be an interesting challenge… I liked to look out from my window  every so often to see how good the world was. Nothing was falling apart each i looked.  – MA notes on paintings

Real Tissues a.k.a. Statement Art a.k.a. Placards a.k.a. All the World is a Stage (But Quiet On the Set), oil on linen, 54”x72 inches, painted August 2002 to January 2003

Conceptually ‘Real tissues’ is a painting that speaks to the power of the media, not in exploring issues but instead creating diversion and spectacle. The painting displays a wanting of recognition by diverse points of view, while satirically humanizing the concept of commerciality and slant. There are no real focused points of view in this piece, almost as if the figures aren’t sure what to protest, or too many issues overlapping to sort through, and no solid information.

This painting is an acknowledgement of our overly saturated media age, but saturated with what? The characters are not interested in the “show”, a possible unveiling of a bikini clad naive, wanting more relevant, humanistic points of view expressed. Some characters are feeling ‘the fear’, (i.e. anxiety over oppression of peoples, health care, industrial military complex, globalization, environmental issues, war on drugs, war…) but the big man continues along, assuring that all is well. The ‘show’ has easy answers to complex situations, or makes no attempt at all, just a little ‘T and A’; an elderly woman’s answer to the stupidity of the ‘show’ may be reflected in the simplicity of her sign “don’t be an asshole”. Another figure in the painting carries a Christian cross, overlapping a cardboard sign begging for real issues, hence’ real ‘t’issues’, and the woman having synthetically enlarged breasts gently readying to remove her top(?) for the camera may imply wanting reality/real breast tissues as opposed to breast enhancement…. As I was composing the painting with placard overlapping placard, the aesthetics of Matisse’ cut-out painting ‘the snail’ wanted to be tucked in among all the placards, and so it was… Allah Hoo has been one of my favorite songs since about 1987 and is by Sufi singer Nusrat fateh Ali Khan, and translates to mean ‘Praise God’. “More On” is a play on words or ‘Moron’, and relates to the Canadian diplomat making an under-her-breath comment on George W. Bush’s government at the height of the UN/Iraq situations of 2003. Her comments became more of a media story than any other in Canada for a few days than any actual facts related to the UN / US / Iraq situation. “Fuddle-duddle” is a former Canadian prime minister’s way of saying” F***. The whistle ‘blow this sign is related to Enron, etc… “All for one and one for all”, reads as “All for ne and ne for all”… I was having fun with all of this. One tiniest of signs reads ‘Tommy Kinkade sucks”, a knock at the ‘renowned’ painter of saccharine fairy cottages who has made millions of dollars while artists of somewhat greater intellectual merit struggle to survive; maybe relating it to how I see television…. ie public television versus the major networks… (note that I might be implying a jealousy for his success!) The sly graffiti man to the left is embleming the wall with the logo of a famous burger distributor; so much for being aware of any issues… Gone are the days when Graffiti called for “Jello Biafra for president!”. Environmental, social, political and ethical issues have so many layers, almost overwhelming, it is easier to just enjoy the show, the game, ‘real tv’, take in the promo and let everything just unfold as it may! “Real tissues” is my way of summing up how I saw things at that particular juncture in my life. Is television the opiate of the masses? …Hmmm… Yup.   – MA 2003