Violence, in progress, 50×36 in., originally uploaded by ahtravis.
The artist’s eye
I, like, most mothers, am sickened by violence–violence in my country and the violence done around the world in whatever name, who cares. Everyday, in the media, we see figures of fleeing bodies, bodies blown into the air, children burned, the earth burned and scorched by violence inflicted on it, by governments, guns, poverty, extremism in the name of religion or taxes or government.
As a mother and grandmother, I grieve for the mothers and grandmothers whose children are caught up in this destructive maelstrom. I cannot imagine that any mother really thinks violence to her children is worth any cause. Every adult effected was some mother’s child once. Stop! Stop! And yet it goes on. Americans love their guns, the availability of guns means that they get used. There is incendiary violence in our speech, on TV, radio, computer, in town halls. Intolerance is everywhere.
I am not only seeing violated bodies on the screen and television, in the newspapers but in each instance the figures in this newly begun work were were joyous when I first observed them. A statue in the Lake country of Italy was a nymph vigorously celebrating spring. Now when I view my sketch I see that figure as a young woman thrown into the air by the blast of a roadside bomb. The statue of a madonna extending a hand in blessing recently viewed at the Cape Ann Museum, CAM, Glouster, MA becomes a mother trying to protect her child by throwing up her hand , her smile becomes a mouth twisted by horror.
A young man bending backward to throw or catch a basketball , also on view at the CAM, in my altered vision, is being tossed and broken by a bomb. A strutting turkey, his tail feathers spread as a warning to the cat in my back yard becomes a pathetic, inadequate warning to the bomb blast. Flowers die.
As a student of movement and gesture I am struck by the blurred postures of ecstasy and horror. It seems there is not much distance between the positions of exaltation and the shocking. The body, with its finite number of bones, muscles and sinew, is limited in its physical expression.
I began work on this piece this afternoon though it has been in my thoughts for many days and weeks. I intend to post the development of the work as it progresses or collapses. The responsibility to Picasso’s “Guernica” feels heavy.
I will watch your progress. Thank-you for saying what many of us are.