American Tragedies Portrait Series
The 20th century is gone and dead, but its rotting, putrefied corpse is stinking up the damn place—Turing’s algorithm, Teller’s bomb, Hofmann’s acid, are the limbs, arms, and feet reaching out, zombie-like, from the past into our present. We are still accustomed to dream wildly, but the nightmares of the last century make belief in any meaningful future seem impossible. What would it mean to have a proper burial for what is sure to be remembered as one of the most remarkable centuries in human history?
The American Tragedies Portrait Series is an attempt to look back with fresh eyes on the long, utopian 20th century in all its glory and its horror, with a particular focus on citizens and non-citizens of the empire that dictated the life and times of this peculiar period. The Series examines eight American figures who serve as allegories for various aspects of the human condition: Robert Moses (Order), Chief Looking Glass (Being), Aurora Vargas (Sacrifice), Hannah Arendt (Belonging), Malcom X (Unity), Ted Kaczynski (Rebellion), Septima Clark (Power), and ‘Big’ Bill Haywood (Labor).
The Series does not seek to glorify nor demonize the figures featured, but to provide eight lenses through which we might better understand these times, through the lives of individuals embedded at various points in the long American 20th century. Some personalities may be more familiar than others in this series, but all dreamt beyond the confines of their time, their dreams suffering tragic ends that demand recompense in our present.
The work featured in the American Tragedies Portrait Series was created using colored pencil and alcohol solvent on bristol paper.
Other Colored Pencil Work
The work featured below was created using colored pencil on bristol paper.