25 States of Q
25 States of Q (#1 version) Acrylic and fabric on canvas: 36"x 54" 2021
25 States of Q (#2 version) Acrylic and fabric on canvas: 36"x 54" 2021
STATE 1:Among the many "things" I had kept over time was a sleeping mask. I felt its purpose was a bit of a contradiction which is why I kept it. The idea of a person putting on a sleeping mask at night didn't seem necessary and later learned that the mask served mostly to allow sleep by blocking light which can be true for a number of circumstances.
About a month prior to the Nov. 6 election the media had picked up on the growing number of extremely conservative citizens had begun to support a "Q-anon conspiracy" to the extent that it had burst out of the dark web and onto conservative mainstream media. Stories about various "democrat" fictitious activities were being spread in the public domain. After hearing about a few of the horrendous things they accused "dark state" democrats of being engaged in like killing white babies and drinking their blood in satanic rituals, and wholesale trafficking's of children for elicit sex, I was dumbfounded that adults in this day and age, with normal levels of education, could ever imagine one iota of truth to any of the Q anon acts being broadcast. I can recall pacing around the studio trying to understand why anybody would want to spread such terrible lies, and how people could be in such a state of confusion that they would accept these revelations as reality. It was a disappointment to my faith in the collective humanity of America.
While putting away a jug of gesso in the storage cabinet, I stumbled across a rolled up wad of black material. It turned out to be the stashed sleeping mask of many years ago. Unrolling the mask and placing it on a work table that had a freshly gesso'd canvas on it. The black mask on white canvas made an immediate connection. I had just witnessed that collision between the real and the creative and it was transfixing.
In that instant, I saw the black mask as an object that symbolizes wearer comfort while providing shielded protection from what exists. It voids all that is visual and, in the darkness, relies upon that which is imagined. That was my perceived function of the Q-anon movement. It was an internalized myth perpetrated by those who obscure reality in order to provide comfort through manufactured illusion. The mask is a "thing" that functions to void visual reality forcing the masked to interpret what they can't see or don't want to see. What was it that the Q-anon community doesn't want to see? Response? Truth! There is something about truth that Q-anon, as a mask, shields followers from having to participate in the challenges of truth.
I bought a box of sleeping masks and began to organize a work that dealt with the Q-anon movement. While organizing and moving things around on the blank canvas, it was the end of October and the election was about to go into overdrive with polls, positions, and predictions. One of the predictors used was the red state vs blue state conversation. The media had promoted the idea that the nation was equally divided into 25 blue and 25 red states were some would oscillate back and forth. There was a suggestion in the media that the Q-anon hoax was gathering followers in all of the red states. This information became the turning point in resolving "25 States of Q". I covered the canvas with three layers/font sizes of gridded "truth" and then overlaid 25 sleeping masks. The masks were not altered and were sewed to the canvas. I wanted to keep it simple and straight forward.
STATE 2: Before the January 6 insurrection on the Nation's Capitol Building, I felt that this work was finished. After two weeks of details emerging from the insurrection, I kept looking at the "Q" work and felt something was missing from the visual. Finally, half way into March I was thinking about how violent the "Q" movement and how important guns are to their construct as a norm that I remembered a box of empty shot gun shells "thing" stashed under a workbench. I brought a hand full of them out and began to think about their possibilities. After a week of working out different ideas, including the concern that the work was part of an overall body of black and white images and that colored shot gun shells would not work. That was resolved by choosing only red shells to be used. Next decision was how and where to arrange them on the canvas. I chose the boarder as a placement. To stay with the "25" theme, I used only 25 shells spaced around the perimeter of the canvas. I also arranged them so that the word "active" that was printed on the shell, to uniformly face out.
25 States of Q (detail)