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Portfolios: September 2011 Curator Reviewed Art
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Thank you for your insightful comments. I grew up playing with G I Joe and army men. There was family lore about grandparents and parents involved in WWI and WWII. I later joined the army and saw things from a different angle. With the Battleship paintings I was inspired while playing the game with my children that here we are, playing a game, about war. Little plastic pieces enabling fun when, in reality, they concern war, fighting, and sometimes death. Ironically, my 2 boys, now young men of 18 and 21, are grown now and emphatically anti-military. Funny how life goes. Thanks again. -Ken
I find your compilation of works intriguing, as they each have evocative qualities, but are considerably diverse stylistically. There are some apparent threads or motifs running through several pieces- an interest in military artifacts, nostalgia, and an almost Pop art singularity in focus on a central object or graphic image. I especially like Battleship Game as it embraces all of these characteristics. The subject is easily recognizable, and carries familiar associations of childhood play, but within a larger metaphor of amusement or sport as an exercise in conflict. I don’t see an indication of scale on the piece. I imagine it has a personal intimacy if smaller and a more (ironically) commanding presence as a large object. The ship and ground are well executed, with subtle gradations of value. The very limited palette and value range softens the subject, as if I’m recollecting it in the blurred past as opposed to a sharpened present. And while I appreciate what looks like an exploration or experimentation with explicit representations of war in several pieces- Dali’s grotesquely twisted limbs and Picasso’s Guernica- it is the quieter works that actually resonate with me as I contemplate Games of War. Your close study of these proverbial naïve objects make me realize conceptions of war are deeply embedded, and have innocuously entered my psyche long before I knew of their reality.
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