Demise of Democracy?

This November I’ll be showing in, Demise of Democracy?, a group exhibit at California’s Orange County Center for Contemporary Art (OCCCA.) The exhibition presents works that authentically question where Americans currently stand in relation to democracy in the United States. My submission, an oil painting titled Globalization, depicts riot police pummeling a helpless individual sprawled on the ground. A common place scene in today’s world, the title of my painting clearly identifies such abuse as an international phenomenon. Demise of Democracy? presents the works of some sixty artists working in a wide range of styles and mediums.

Globalization - Oil painting by Mark Vallen
Globalization - Oil painting by Mark Vallen

Democracy Struggling with Itself by Mark Stickland is an oil painting depicting bodies so hopelessly intertwined that you can barely make them out, a clear metaphor for a nation at war with itself. Sunland Model 1 by Alexander Schaeter is a New Realist style acrylic painting of a typical model suburban home - the “American dream” everyone supposedly aspires to. But there’s something amiss in Schaeter’s paradise, which looks oddly disquieting and alien. Ed Hudecek’s Liberty Misleading is an oil painting based on the famous work, Liberty Leading the People, by Eugène Delacroix. Hudecek’s naïve painting shows Liberty taken hostage by a cowboy who bears an uncanny resemblance to the U.S. president. Also depicted in the scene is a dispassionate pair calmly videotaping the apocalyptic chaos of New York’s Twin Towers in flames.

Christina Jorge’s Thinking Outside the Box is a sculpture that features a wounded Iraqi war veteran sitting on a flag draped coffin - his legs blasted off below the knee caps. Weeping Glory by Francisa White is an oil painting that shows huddled and astonished eyewitnesses watching the Twin Towers being destroyed. The people are superimposed over a U.S. flag motif whose bars allude to the Towers themselves, the stars of the nation’s banner melting into tears - or are they drops of blood.

48 Star Flag by Andrew Krasnow
48 Star Flag by Andrew Krasnow

Sure to raise eyebrows is Andrew Krasnow’s controversial, 48 Star Flag. No doubt taking inspiration from the famous series of U.S. flag paintings by Pop artist, Jasper Johns, Krasnow’s take on the national banner can be interpreted many ways, and people on the left or right will read into it what they will. It could be seen as the banner of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country; it might be perceived as a work that says “America is made of its people,” or it might be construed as conveying a more ominous message - Krasnow’s flag is made from human skin.

The Artist’s Reception for Demise of Democracy? will be held on Saturday, November 5th at 7 pm. The reception is free and open to the public. The exhibition will be on view until November 27th, 2005. The OCCCA is located in the Santa Ana Artist’s Village at 117 North Sycamore Street, Santa Ana, California 92701. Phone: 714-667-1517. For more information, visit the center’s website, at: www.occca.org

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