Struggles

This painting series is about the internal struggle between right and wrong, the objectiveness of good and evil and that the winners write the history*.

*The catalyst for this series came while watching a cowboy movie on a weekday afternoon when I should have been working. The protagonist chases the villain into rocky foothills where they start to grapple and slug it out. I thought to my self, “This would be a very different movie if the villain lands a lucky punch.” As I recall, the protagonist was Glenn Ford–not my idea of a fighter. So, “This story is being told only because Glen Ford will land a lucky punch.” And “Really, right and wrong, good and bad is being determined by who wins a fist fight?” This is not an original insight but as I had been doing paintings of Angels and Devils, I knew I wanted to try to express that struggle. Black versus White, but who is good and who is bad?

After I had worked on these paintings for some time, I had an epiphany while playing basketball. I loved playing bball. I loved how for one hour or more, I was “in the moment.” My life existed only there on the court, going head to head with other players–each of us trying to exerting our all to be winners and not losers. The epiphany was that, maybe these paintings were not just about good and evil but about the competition of playing basketball on the City courts where we were a mixture of black and white players. Winning is not always about who is better when there are no referees.

Later I exhibited the smaller paintings at an NYU gallery in a group show. When the exhibit was over, I went to the gallery and talked to the guard explaining I was the artist and had come to pick up my paintings. He was a young black man — probably a student working a part time job. He told me that my paintings had generated a lot of discussion. Really? I was surprised and intrigued. What was the reaction that people had? Was my moral questioning evident? No, he said, “Everyone assumed I was gay and was making a statement about male homosexuality.” Wow! I was stunned. This had never crossed my mind but when I looked at them there I realized it was an obvious observation. In that sense, I consider these paintings a failure.

(see this page at kbs.com)

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