“The Course of Empire” (2008 – 2009)



My images, use the ubiquitous tire fires as seen on the front page NY Times of the protests in Pakistan, are about the practice of burning tires in the street as a disruptive way to obscure visibility and stop business as usual. It is the act of resistance and desired  change. They are about the individual voice.

The series is based on Thomas Cole ‘s "Course of Empire" (1836) ,the key painting being “Destruction”, and influenced by Spanish Still life work..

They reference 20th century Western art icons as metaphor for our culture of ideas and its daily rejection by others.

They are allegorical still life of our times.

The compositions and titles, in some cases, are based on well -known works. The images using chairs reference the collaboration between Cunningham, Rauschenberg and Johns using the chairs that appear in  the dance “Soundings” (1969), "According to What” and "Watchman" (1964) by Johns and "Pilgrim" (1960) by Rauschenberg.

The chair has to do with dance, and negotiating movement, and non movement.

The chair, keeps us in one place, stops our choreography, the dance of life and the current changes at hand.

"Monogram" the Rauschenberg referenced is his most famous piece, the combine with the Angora goat and tire (1954) now become another image of defiance.

They are small works as I wanted them so the viewer can only see them at a “distance”. Not enabling the viewer to "get close" by making them life size.

The "composite" of the images show a possible installation on the studio wall. I work and rework them individually and in relation to one another. 

The aim is to engage the viewer in both the title’s verbal association and it’s visual analogy. My hope is that the work will provide both surface and metaphorical readings that will connect the idea and the image. 

I wish to take representation beyond the thing represented, beyond a materialistic sense and have it function on other levels. At the same time, I want the image as interesting visually as it is conceptually.


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