In 2020, I look at the American flag differently than I did when I made this series of paintings in 2013-2015, born out of my frustration with the divisions I felt in our country. Then, I was uncomfortable with and unhappy about how dismissive my East Coast friends were of the Midwest. I had no idea just how important these divisions would become by the presidential election of 2016.
I wrote this back in 2014 about the first paintings of this series:
Purposely divided but not disjointed, the American flag is reinterpreted and deconstructed to become a metaphor for our political, economic, environmental and social time. This body of work is both an homage to the art I love — the iconic work of Jasper Johns and Helen Frankenthaler of the mid-1950s — and a commentary on change in our country. Despite the diversity of materials (encaustic and diluted oil on the same canvas), the result is singular. The sea imagery nods to my adopted home of on the Northeastern Atlantic coast and points to U.S. regionalism, which enriches our culture even as it divides. In Divided Fourth of July , the fishing line is a found object ever-present in the coastal community of Cape Ann, Massachusetts, where I painted for almost a decade and which was once a fishing capitol, and represents this American industry crushed by change. I also use the fishing line as a symbol of hope, wrapping the piece to create a slightly higher plane and to help unify the parts.