Tuesday, April 12, 2005


The Painted Bird

The Persecution was begun in 1960 and finished in 1961. It was inspired by events of that year and the biblical quote I have mentioned.

This next painting for consideration is titled The Painted Bird, and was painted in 1995. The inspiration for this work comes from a book of the same name by Joerzy Kosinski.

In both paintings I have attempted to provide visual stimulus that would aid viewers to reflect upon the prejudices brought on by mere exterior differences.

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My reaction to The Painted Bird is different, perhaps because it opens the question of prejudice a bit wider than Persecution does. Persecution tends to be very particular to the experience of the American South. The inclusion of symbols from Rome and the Third Reich seem to serve only as markers of comparison. The Painted Bird, on the other hand, by symbolizing with birds, generalizes the offense. The book may have been addressing the racism of mid-20th century Europe (I don’t know; I only know a bare-bones sketch of the work), but the painting can be applied to any prejudice. You could think of it in terms of the racism of the American South, but you could just as easily not think of racism at all, but of religious exclusion, or class war, even the cliques in public high schools (reminds me here of the Columbine shootings committed by two misfits who always felt under attack by their peers). It’s easier to see in the painting a reflection of my own heart and wonder in what way do I suffer a similar baseless persecution and in what way do I subject others to it.
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