Dance to Death
|In the Stars, 2017|
46 1/2"W x 58 1/2"H acrylic on canvas
Henri Matisse’s The Dance is a nod to The Rite of Spring, a ballet in which a dancer sacrifices herself by dancing to death. Francis Bacon’s Painting examines the monstrous nature of government and features an umbrella to suggest how bureaucrats shield their criminal activity by blending in with the general public.
Here, Virginia Wolf appears in a night sky over a dark city, and citizens below “weather the storm” under their umbrellas. She represents a sense of mental depression looming over a cultural epicenter, and the people represent individuals protecting themselves in a gloomy societal climate. The starkly contrasting central figure represents our leaders; he's happily dancing naked, singing in the rain, isolated and floating above the fray. The highlighted shaft and ribs of his umbrella are suggestive of neon, and the same “light” outlines his body as if to advertise his position.
Currently, our representatives pretend they support their constituents’ concerns, and yet they safeguard a president who falsely claims that all of his shenanigans are on the level. These completely uninhibited, shameless agents of corruption blatantly market the normalization of crime. But if crooks become "right as rain," then who are the bad guys? By allowing freewheeling bureaucrats to continue aiding and abetting the criminal-in-chief, upending common sense, at some point society as a whole will undoubtedly and unceremoniously dance to death.