Thursday, March 31, 2005



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Matthew 25:40:
And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

Your painting is absolutely brilliant!
This painting is provocative! What an emotionally charged image.
Your painting is very powerful, stirring the soul of the viewer.
ditto, ditto, and ditto!

Fabulous! I can't wait to see more!
I can see how in 1961, a Texan may look at this painting and see it reflect something in his own life. The Klan and the Nazis likely figured more prominently in the public psyche due to the high visibility and the historical proximity of each. But now in the year 2005, does it still have something to say or is Persecution just a relic from the Civil Rights Era? Nowadays, the Klan is greatly marginalized and the viewer is unlikely to relate his own attitudes and behavior to that of the Klansman in the painting. Though, I wonder if anyone ever did relate to the Klansman – except to be insulted by the implication – or if the tendency has been to identify with the black man in his suffering and think of the Klansman as the Other. I find that when I look at the painting, I see the Klansman as the enemy, and never see his role as a springboard for introspection into what might be racism in my own heart. But, I always imagine that perhaps in another time, viewers with a different history in race relations saw him differently. Perhaps it is telling of how far our society has come in the last 40-plus years that the painting may have lost some poignancy.
Thank you for your comments. Though you take umbrage with the effectiveness of some of the symbols used in the painting PERSECUTION it seems you do understand its statement. Perhaps the symbols I used then were to immediate. I wanted images that were unequivacal in their association with the subject, and in time would become more general. I had hoped that what you believe to be a KKK member would become "everyman" who hides his iniquities behind a hood, mask, or disguise. I am not surprised with your uneasiness with the painting. The man who commissioned the work (a preacher),even after paying for it, returned the painting after six months saying He couldn't live daily with the statement it made. It was not and is not my intention to preach a viewpoint. My intentions are to provide visual stimulus for the viewer that he or she may review his or her own thoughts.
I am glad to see this painting, but it reminds me that the enemies of civilization arund here have gotten more subtle with the passage of time; now they speak in code. This is not meant to be a critique of the painting and it is a nice portrait of the Tom DeLays and Trent Lotts of the world who occasionally forget to take of their sheets, and the others (and maybe the "us" sometimes) who wear them under their skin.
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