Sunday, May 23, 2010
Meta For War
Here is my final for my Sequential Imaging class here at VCU. It's titled "Meta For War" and I guess you could call it a mixed media piece(?). It is oil paint on 5 cradled panels (each 6"x6" in size). The other squares were filled with actual military ribbons, brass, and pins which I acquired from a fellow art student and retired Army vet Joe Sullivan. I bought the flag and learned how to properly fold it, and also bought the dogtags (which bear the name John Doe). I made a frame out of 1"x2" select pine, then stained and sealed it. I added a black curtain to fill the frames I knew would have the military ribbons, pins, etc., then I put a wooden backing on it to give it some structural support.
With this piece I really wanted to combine the idea of chess and war. I've played chess for a long time and have always liked the idea of it being a game born out of tactical military approach. I knew early on I wanted my final piece to be set up like a chess board, so the painted panels and the objects on black backing I thought played that up pretty well. I also wanted this piece to read as 2 narratives that parallel one another. If you follow the progression of the game, it mirrors the progression of the John Doe soldier. I tried using the black knight as a protagonist through the chess paintings to help keep a cohesiveness so it would read as a story. I tried using unusual angles in the paintings to sort of play with the idea of the scale of the chess pieces and how they are normally perceived. The military pieces were set in a way to hopefully read as a chronicling of a soldier's career from entering the service, to retirement/death. The dogtags indicate the soldier entering the service, the pins indicate the training received, the brass and patches show what company he was with and that he saw combat, and finally the bars and folded flag indicate the end. As the soldier's story ends, the chess pieces arrive at checkmate.
This was a challenging but fun piece to work on. I got to break out of my comfort zone a little and actually build something in combination with my paintings.