Legal Graffiti, 2014
8’8″ x 7’7″
In theory and spirit we, the American people, revere our national parks and landmarks; “America The Beautiful” we sing and boast. Unfortunately in practice we are not always so benevolent. This painting serves to remind and caution the nation against voting for anti-environmental laws and congressman. Legislators that actively work against pro-environmental representatives effectively condone the deterioration of our national resources and treasures. By defacing the cliffs in the painting with the names of the very laws opposed to their protection, I ask the viewer to confront this offense.
In the likeness of Hudson River School artist Frederic E. Church’s 1886 original, Niagara Falls from the American Side, I submit two large (approximately 9 x 8 ft.) panoramic landscapes for your consideration. Although visually similar, the two, one to be installed indoors and the other on an outer wall, were designed to generate distinct yet complementary emotional responses from the viewer. The first includes images of vandalized cliffs, visually referencing the very anti-environmental bills opposing their protection – i.e. H.R. 2954. The second, expressing the importance of environmental preservation in a more direct manner, stands vulnerable to the elements, welcoming it’s own dilapidation. This painting, unlike the first, accepts the possibility of future defacement, forcing the viewer and/or potential saboteur to acknowledge his preconceived perceptions of importance and assumed value. Varnished against harsh weather conditions, the beauty of the painting can only be damaged by human hands.