Hand Signals oil on canvas 30 x 40″ $1000
My primary interest as a painter is narrative. The issues that most interest me are somewhat autobiographical – stretches of the imagination based on my own life experiences or those of people I’ve known or observed. Included among these issues are the relationships between humans, the delightful intrepidness of children, and the pervasive influence of that misplaced sense of personal power that manifests as racism, sexism, classism, and elitism. I paint lots of invented people, and I try to give each one the attention he or she deserves. I believe that every person is potentially deserving of love and attention, every person has utterly important experiences, we are all here for a reason, and no one is more important than anyone else. If I can’t easily understand most people in life because it is so very difficult – well, impossible actually – to like and understand everybody, at least I can try to understand them through my work.
Hand signals was inspired by the confusion and politicization around wearing face masks to prevent the spread of Covid 19. This seems like a very sensible and easy fix to a lot of people, to just wear the darn masks. But for some people, it is something else altogether, a violation of their autonomy and entitlements – a symbol of government oppression. But when we wear masks, we are hiding our faces and don’t know what is going on under them. Is it a smile or a grimace? Our hands need to do the talking. But what are our hands saying?