Dura-mater, pinksummer, Genova, Italy, 2015

On the walls are two new series of drawings and prints based on my father and grandfather’s war experiences. The first grouping titled, “Metered Mail” is series of lithographs inspired by a cartoon postcard booklet sent from my grandfather to my grandmother while he was in basic training during WW2. The images are chosen, cropped and pasted with stamps from that era based on memories I have of interactions with my grandparents and stories told to me about my grandfather’s bravery and resilience as a POW. Although he personally never talked about the war or time spent on a work farm after he was captured in 1944.

For “Vietnam or the American War” series of drawings, I was fortunate to be given photographs by my father that he took while over in Vietnam and back on leave in the United States circa 1969. This group also incorporates postage stamps issued from the same year as the photos were taken but are much more intuitive in the juxtapositions as there was little reference or public support for Vietnam during that “conflict”. I chose to draw most of the images in both series with the markings of “metered” or processed mail because all date from the years 1943 or 1969 and the curvy lines of US postal marks aptly represent my idea of memory waves. (Except for the drawing Telegraph which has its' own inherent transmitting system).

On the floor is Deconstructing 13 Stripes and a Rectangle #8, a sculpture designed and sewn referencing the geometry of the United States Flag. Inspired by the idea of Victory Gardens, planted at private residences and public parks in the United States, during World War 2. The sculpture’s constructed of recycled burlap potato sacks filled with sand.

Installed above and suspended off the walls into the space is a series of mud flaps made from recycled tire rubber. These mud-flaps have been embossed with the pattern of cracked mud. Acting as surrogate flags, this series continues my interests in depicting fossilized states hovering in time and space.

Combining the functional and the symbolic is an operating principal for processing most of my artwork. This is partially a result of the influences from the area where I grew up in Western Pennsylvania; that has a rich tradition of mixing different histories. For example, the high school where my father attended has the face of John F. Kennedy grafted onto the schools mascot, Indian Chief Monacatootha, in homage to the assassinated president.

Finally a functioning definition of Dura mater is that it surrounds and supports the dural sinuses that carry the blood from the brain to the heart. An apt metaphor for the complex and poetic positions we hold as human beings.

Dura-mater, pinksummer, Genova, IT, 2015