It's always interesting to retrieve paintings from the racks in the storage area of the studio - especially years after they were created. This particular piece “Return Of The Vietnam Vets” has never been exhibited. It was painted as a physical reminder of what was going through my mind at the time regarding a war the US soldiers had been fighting despite being vilified by their own countrymen. I worried about those soldiers returning from a horrid experience only to be met with derision and shaming. As I had no experience other than the newspaper clippings and news reports on the topic, I was more interested in the emotional and mental scars created by the whole situation of damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Traumatized by what they experienced in war and Vilified as they were by their own citizenry how would they ever adjust in such a way that they could begin anew a life of peace and productivity? All the guilt of that ill-advised and ill-run war was being heaved unto their shoulders because those who had managed the war and those who were at home looking at it on TV felt shameless. Oddly, it is this painting which encouraged me to paint, 34 years later, my black on black painting “An Intelligent Soldier Is a Dangerous Soldier”. In that I wanted to show that if ever a soldier, of any country, was asked whether a war they were being sent off to fight was necessary - maybe there would never be a war to ever be fought again. Has anyone dared ask a soldier what he or she thinks - before a decision is made to go to war? For whom would their answer be dangerous?
Above : Return Of The Vietnam Vets - Oil - 18" x 24" - 1976
Below : An Intelligent Soldier. . . - Oil - 40" x 60" - 2010
I am a painter and writer who's whole life has been influenced by one precept : "thinking each our own thoughts makes us relevant and relevance makes us powerful."