Oct 012010

Uncensored poster

I am most known for my brightly colored animal paintings that tend to be whimsical and very upbeat. There is another side to my artwork, however, that totally surprises people who are accustomed only to the more cheery side.

I have also created collages and assemblages that take a much more serious tone. They are expressive and make an attempt to put form to ideas, concerns and sometimes feeling of distress.

My sister calls them my “bad mood paintings” as the subject matter is not pleasant and my color choices are discordant.

Some are very personal. Some address serious issues facing our society.

I don’t always share them with a broad public, because they can stir debate and controversy that conflicts with the “brand” I have developed around my pet themed work. I do bring them out, however, when a proper context for them presents itself.

The “Uncensored” juried exhibit at Anderson Creative Gallery is one such context.

The show commemorates National Anti-Censorship Month and purposefully courts controversy, seeking to show pieces that both provoke and explore themes that are unsettling.

I had two pieces selected for the show. The pices are shown below with words are from the Artist Statement I wrote to accompany the pieces.

The colors are dark and graphic; the subject matter painful and challenging; the words reflect a time in our history where ignorance and hubris prevailed to the detriment of soldiers and innocent civilians around the world.

These  collage/assemblage pieces are perhaps the most expressive pieces I have ever made, and the most graphic in their depiction of how I was affected by current events at the time.

Game of the Century

"Game of the Century" Mixed Media Assemblage by BZTAT

“Game of the Century” puts a visual form to the lyrics of the song “Our Deliverance” by Emily Saliers, reflecting how power brokers make decisions about soldiers’ lives in the same way that a football coach maps out plays on a chalkboard.

Government Whitewash

"Government Whitewash" Mixed Media Assemblage by BZTAT

“Government Whitewash” is perhaps the ugliest artwork that I have ever created. That is because it is about the ugliest thing I have ever witnessed.

Listening to United States Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff’s words in an NPR interview on September 1, 2005, in which he showed he was either oblivious to or in denial about the needs of people affected by Katrina, inspired this piece. I made every attempt to graphically illustrate the destruction of Katrina and the horror of the people caught in its aftermath, including the mud, broken glass, trash, and images of traumatized people in the background.

Some people look at these artworks and say, “Wow! Why is she painting cats?” Others may disagree with the political content or the visual form and be glad that I generally paint more pleasant themes.

Both, however, are a part of who I am as a person and as an artist. Both styles are reflective of my creative impulse, and both present artistic challenges for me.

I cannot do one without the other.

“Uncensored” will be on display October 1-31, 2010 at Anderson Creative, 331 Cleveland Ave., NW, Canton, OH.

  No Responses to “Uncensored: A look at the darker side of my artwork”

  1. Wow – you really are talented girl. While the dark side isn’t my personal thing, I do recognize it for the great talent you have – the ability to express yourself in art. I actually like the last one about the government whitewash. – Very creative & actually quite pretty.

    • Thank you Mario. Your comments mean a lot. Pretty? I guess it is hard for me to see it, because the ugliness of the subject was so profound. Sadly, it doesn’t seem like we have come very far since the piece was made in 2005. The people of New Orleans still seam to be overlooked by their government.

  2. Both of these works are really incredible. I may have to drag Hubby back to Canton to take a look at them in person!

    • i would love to see you guys again! let me know if you come. Hopefully the weather will be better and I can show you around a bit more.

  3. Wow, BZTAT. I really appreciate these two pieces. Truth be told, I believe the truest purpose of art is to reflect and comment on the human condition. I especially appreciate the “Game of the Century…” as I am a Vietnam veteran and father of a daughter whose an Army Captain and veteran of Afghanistan. That being the case I consider myself some what of a well informed person with regards to our military. It is shameful how Americans allowed our military to be thrown into Iraq without true justification. And while you’re at it, “Where are those Weapons of Mass Destruction?”. I congratulate you and encourage others to find time to use their art as social commentary, to use their art to speak truth to power. Thanks for sharing these two pieces with us BZTAT.

    Allen Kimble, Jr.
    Alta-Ego of “Vinny the Pug”

    • Allen and Vinny,

      Your remarks are very meaningful to me. I care deeply about America’s service men and women, and I feel outraged that our president in 2003 took the steps that he did to put them in harm’s way UNNECESSARILY.

      At the time that I made “Game of the Century”, it was considered unpatriotic and disrespectful to our service men and women to disagree with the president. I could not silently sit by, however, and watch as he treated them as if it was a football game and as if they were just a bunch of plastic army men. They were real people. I had to express my outrage, and the Emily Saliers lyric provided me the perfect metaphor.

      I will never forget these words from Hans Blix, the former WMD Inspector:

      “I found it peculiar that those who wanted to take military action could – with 100 per cent certainty – know that the weapons existed and turn out to have zero knowledge of where they were.”

      I am currently working on more politically oriented pieces. My clarity is not as distinct, now, as it was then, so it is a struggle. Our world has become so incredibly confused. But there is some art that you do because you want to, and others that you HAVE to. This is in the HAVE to category.

      Thank you for your service. I am glad that there are those who serve even if our leaders become misguided. Thank you too for your comments.

  4. I echo the other comments here. You certainly are one VERY talented lady. This kind of collage artwork is something I wish I could do. You manage to pull it off effortlessly. I love the 2D/3D/relief stuff. This was/is the kind of thing I used to do once upon a time but haven’t touched in years. I love that this contrasts so beautifully with your pet portraits. More anarchy please!

    • Thx Liz. I wouldn’t necessarily say that it was effortless… it was a kind of impassioned and frenzied effort that created these two pieces.

      I am not one for anarchy. I am for reasoned and compassionate government. We have to have order, and that is the purpose of government. But, SHEESH! We lost our way in 2001 and have just been going further and further astray. It isn’t about parties or politics, necessarily. It is about people losing sight of both the forest and the trees.

      As I said to Allen and Vinny, I am working on more collages of this nature, but I have no clue where they are going, or even where I want them to go. Kinda how I feel about the state of things in my country right now.

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