Printing and printmaking have always been a source of political and social commentary. The printing of texts (type setting) was from the beginning accompanied by the printing of images (wood blocks, etchings, engravings) and those parings made both the written text and the image take on more nuanced meanings.
The notion that images themselves, accompanied sometimes by text, and charged with socially relevant content could be mass produced and widely distributed has been a major part of the attraction of printmaking as an art form. Posters, broadsides, leaflets, banners, and even limited edition works of fine art printing later reproduced in larger quantities, all contributed to the ongoing tradition of multi-copy politically charged art images. Cartoons, editorial and otherwise, play a particular role in the printing arts because of their entertainment value, a perfect cover for political commentary.
In these rather odd political times, and in my own creation of block prints, I have found occasion to contribute to this tradition of image making.
For many years I have been interested in the political life of Haiti. Several of my works have been images related to political and social concerns in Haiti. Examples of those:
In the last year and a half I have printed several political themed linocuts. They each concern some aspect of the rise of a peculiar form of populism which builds on the desires of those who feel left behind or put down by the elites of our social structures. It is not so much a movement as it is a rumbling devoid of concern for anything but acquisitions and self-promotion with little or no regard for the civil or social constructs that help us maintain some institutional life as a nation. This rumbling has led to a bundling of resentments that together mimic the gathering of syndicates or guilds into a united bond, in other words a fascism. It is, of course, a mimic only. The bundling here is more raw, more sensual, more terrifying for its lack of any coherence. This bundling is a gathering of resentments, and the unity is one that is at its core a gathering of anger.
I have been working to express some aspects of my perception of this rumbling in the hopes to illustrate some of the angers that give rise to and arise out of these political expressions and to name the demons that reside in those angers.
Here are recent works:
We live in a time where there is a huge range of responses to the political situation in which we in the US find ourselves, words on top of words. What I am attempting to do is present at least some commentary that is nearly word free. These images, I hope, are evocative of some of the more primary elements in the fascist populism that has sprung up in America. And I hope too the images also are reminders of the horrors that are there as well.