Monday, September 16, 2013

A Thousand Cuts

This is a painting from April of this year, I made a couple in this series as part of my RBC paintting entry.

They weave historical and personal elements together. The surface of Birch wood panel becomes part of the piece and I was thinking of the school tables I used to draw on in grade 5, scrawling LED ZEP, STONES and AC/DC in deep HB pencil, until I was caught and had to clean 40+ tables after school.

Here are some thoughts I had about it at the time: 
This plain white business shirt, is a memento of a personal violence against me, at times I re-interpret my memories, re investigate them as a victim, as a villian and as a participant, but what is truth, that has long seemed to shift away to emotional response.
I am fascinated by the subjective nature of truth, memory, how history itself is a collective memory constantly being updated and changed, restored and changed again by the participants and the interpreters.

This piece, A Thousand Cuts, has many different tensions and contradictions contained within it. The title itself can mean the ancient chinese torture, as evident by the destruction of this garment, or it could be something more mundane and bureaucratic.
The painting itself is static but the lines of the piece have a nervous care and detail style to them. , indicates a fullness, the lines seem been painted in intense style, the business shirt lies in tatters, it can suggest an end to a paternalistic system, echoed by the figure in the background or it can be more nuianced.

There is a tension in the piece, the business shirt, a symbol of something highly functioning is broken down. The symbol of something quintessintially masculine has a femenine shape to it. 

There is a tension between the figure in the background, perhaps one who would wear a shirt like this, the destroyed shirt and the confrontational way the figure gazes to the viewer.