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Shock and Awe

August 10, 2004 to September 4, 2004



In the current exhibit “Shock and Awe” the viewer is witness to the artist’s internal chant through use of the mound of information that flows from the media - parallel and conflicting - that the public is bombarded with on a daily basis. The exhibit’s title, “Shock and Awe,” is the term the Bush Administration uses for its massive hi-tech air strikes on Iraq.

“It all started with getting on the Internet and reading multiple stories of the same event. I found that the perspective changed dramatically depending upon who was writing the story. Eventually I found myself in a blizzard of media information, and not sure what was real and what was false. I followed the media stories to their photo documentation. I was truly dismayed at what I found. Images of children being shot, burned, and killed by both sides; some the victims of cross fire, others found in mass graves across Iraq. I also found pictures of humans torturing other humans, decapitating one another, and so on. There were photographs of our soldiers, barely young men themselves, coming home in caskets or missing limbs. I began to think about the horror of war, and how we are so protected from the images of war. The ban on the images of the four contractors in Fallujah being slain is a perfect example.

“The drawings are made of multiple layers of newspaper articles, handwritten, and then erased away. There are several different articles in each drawing, each from different events and perspectives. The text was written right side up and upside down. After the articles were written over and over and over, a thin line was erased to separate the lines of text, an attempt to bring some type of order to all of the information. They are titled Assisi I, II, and III after the place where the Decalogue for Peace happened. In April of 2002 two hundred of the worlds religious leaders came together to write ten statements that enforced the idea to work together for peace and justice and oppose religious violence. The Decalogue is interwoven with the news articles on each drawing.

“The paintings are made from forty layers of text and images and are applied and then sanded away. The text is a combination of articles on the war that juxtapose different perspectives through reporting, philosophy, and prayers. Each painting has a different image layered on the backside of the glass. The images are taken from the internet: a small boy with a gun in his mouth; a little girl whose arms have been taken off; soldiers in the middle of a sandstorm; the burning car at Fallujah; a blindfolded skull of a child found in a mass grave in Iraq. The surface is created by the combination of text and images that are given on each piece. They are not meant to be direct pictures of the war; rather they are metaphors for war in an information age. They are meant to bring pause to the sandstorm of news, pictures, and perspectives that we process everyday while trying to understand the death and injury of somebody’s child.”--Megan Murphy, July 2004