My work unambiguously questions war, humanity and politics through an exploration of the concept of shared grief and loss (that which you once knew is no longer).
I began this series in late 2016 after a 7 year hiatus from painting. After caring for my mother through her cancer and experiencing her death in 2009, the magnitude of my grief was such that I found I had lost my visual, creative
“Voice”. I had gone silent, static and had become withdrawn from the creative process. When I returned to the studio, it was with a stylistic departure from how I had been painting for well over a decade.
As one who is not a figurative painter and has never really had the desire to paint portraits, the process of creating these images was at times incredibly uncomfortable and I wasn’t quite sure what was compelling me to do so. However, as I painted the final piece in this series, I realized that subconsciously I had chosen to focus on images of people not in the classical sense of portraiture, but rather as a way of representing a portrait of grief and circumstance.
During the evolution of this series, ISIS was on the rise, Syria was (and still is) in a war that has displaced millions of people, the genocide of the Yazidi population in Iraq and general unrest in many parts of the world reminded me of the story of Cain and Abel.
After Cain had murdered his brother Abel, God asked him where his brother was. Cain answered, “I know not; am I my brother's keeper?” Cain's words have thus come to symbolize our unwillingness to accept responsibility for the welfare of our “brothers” in the extended sense of the term.
Our disconnect from one another’s circumstances is often due to politics, belief structures, cultural differences, distance and time. Despite all of these elements working to deconstruct basic humanity, there are also threads of commonality: The idea that we should all have liberty, safety, peace. The idea that we all experience grief and loss.
And so, while I cannot reconcile the ways in which we function in duality: shared human experiences such as love and loss with man’s ability to kill, segregate, deprive, I can share in the grief of my brothers and sisters through this series of visual narratives.