After a three year hiatus of working on my flag series, I have been re-inspired to revisit them because the presidential election season is well on its way and I am constantly reminded why I started -- to honor our country by promoting a non-dogmatic patriotism that helps create space for an honest, non-partisan dialog about national issues.
I believe the quality of political discourse in this country is embarrassing, dangerous, and disingenuous. I realize solutions are hard to find, as discussed by Maria Konnikova in this New Yorker article, once someone's world view is tied to an issue, facts are no longer capable of changing minds -- data is rejected and discounted. Because political dialog is inherently tied to personal identity, it is particularly difficult to change.
But I believe that art has a special ability to open minds because it doesn't use facts, it can enter the mind visually and challenge preconceptions in ways that words can't. I believe that art can make a difference and my flag series is an attempt to do something -- no matter how quixotic -- to address an issue that disturbs me.
Below is the ninth in the series. I started it in 2013 but was never completely happy with the results so I put it into storage. Thankfully, my new work with diagonal acrylic stripes gave me a path for finishing it.
Three Year Flag
acrylic, milk paint, and shellac on board
38" x 49"
I like how smudging of the blue stripes creates a shadow effect that gives the work depth.
Three Year Flag (closeup)
I completed my first flag in 2009 but have refused to sell any until I can show them all together in one venue. My goal is to have at least thirteen for the show and will focus on completing several more this year. I think they have a much greater impact and create a greater opportunity for dialog as a group. I also think they are individually interesting but I especially like the opportunity of seeing the historical progress of my work in them. If you would like to see the previous eight there are images on my website here.