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Disputed Territory: The Patriot/Profile/Portrait Scroll
Disputed Territory: The Patriot/Profile/Portrait Scroll
Acrylic/pastel on paper
33" x 360"

The scroll, begun in 2002 and finished for this exhibition, is at once an intimate portrait and a mystery. A portrait of whom? When I began the work, I had done a few preparatory sketches and imagined the background as a cyber security ethos that the other elements would float on. My earlier paintings had included words embedded in layers of color to imply the simultaneous obscuring and revealing of identities. Some were just names, others obscene name-calling, while still others were expressions that ranged from colloquialisms to more traditional turns of phrase. Paring that down to just verbs led me to think of a set of actions as a set of character traits. Isolated phrases such as “shaves daily,” “hunts geese” or “loves too much” imply personality traits, mannerisms or lifestyles that we might admire or ridicule. By combining these with the illustrations an enigmatic portrait emerges, biased, fragmented, incomplete. The Patriot Act was new then and we were just beginning to discover the lengths to which our government would go in protecting the “homeland”. While we have debated torture publicly and parsed our tolerance for it under certain circumstances, we have been less opposed to the surveillance of the citizenry. The assumption of being monitored by our government (and the internet commerce companies), at least in some way, is now taken for granted. Whether this is for our safety or as a means of control or both is an uncomfortable conundrum. This work has never been exhibited. I moved on to other projects in the mid-2000s and packed it up. I decided to take advantage of the long walls of this space to finish and display it. The recent additions are the speechless balloon, circuit layout and DNA illustration, elements drawn from my other drawings of the time.