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Impoverished Armaments

The following is excerpted from a letter I sent to Gretchen Walkup and Patrick Kennelly in mid-2008 shortly after the “Impoverished Armaments” series was completed. It should give you a context for these works:

Works in the series “Impoverished Armaments” come directly from a number of separate pen and ink drawings completed while researching and meditating on contemporary warfare and violence. I was thinking about the experience of war as a mediated and celebrated event. The warfare that the United States has engaged in during my lifetime causes me such deep sorrow but those feeling are largely defined/characterized by newspaper articles, TV/NPR sound bites, internet sources, etc. I have had no firsthand encounters with war and yet my feelings of sadness are overwhelmingly strong. I absorb the latest casualty and incident reports as I go about my day-to-day life in relative peace and comfort. This creates a very strange headspace for me where the horrific nature of the warfare becomes a kind of abstraction. It becomes very real to me emotionally but is removed almost completely from my physical existence and intellectual capacities. I start to formulate ideas about war and violence but then I quickly realize that the subject is extremely large and that my limited abilities of comprehension can’t yet grasp its full significance and/or purpose. The only way I have been able to find solace is through prayer, which is very strange for me as I typically reject religion and don’t follow a particular practice or worship a particular god or set of gods. I do consider myself a spiritual person and have for some time but I have difficulty with the word god because it has come to signify very specific things for many and is so connected to violence and warfare. Nonetheless, I began to think that perhaps the purpose of violence is to bring people closer to prayer and to a greater sense of spirit, humanity, and responsibility.