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Mary P Williams "Explosion"

Mary P Williams "Explosion"

I have assembled 17 tiny canvasses which will be seen in a pattern of explosion. The basic question of this painting is “How far can the bonds holding a society together be stretched before they come apart and the whole fabric of society pulls apart?” No answers … a question only.

My hope is the viewer will see how the bonds between groups are being broken. The media, the politicians, the barrage of vitriolic ads by the candidates running for president of the U.S., and by the political parties themselves, divide the population more and more until it is hard to find common bonds among the citizens of towns and cities, of states and counties. Judging from the number of citizens who vote based on religion it seems that religious bonds are stronger than any other group bonds yet the scorn various religions heap on each other further divides the people. Another institution with strong bonds is the University … higher education requires years of study and dedication and loyalty to the concept of research.

When I finished the “explosion” painting  I managed to get a “consult” with two faculty members. I needed a double-check on whether the concept was still viable. One had an interesting idea … He said: “What would the painting look like on a gray background?”  I mulled this over and decided to paint the wall gray.  Here is a photo of the original on white …

Mary P Williams, "Explosion" on White

Mary P Williams, "Explosion" on White

and one of the painting on gray.

Mary P Williams "Explosion" on gray

Mary P Williams "Explosion" on gray

The other said,”Why not turn it upside down to indicate the energy of the explosion is being directed downward instead of upward?”

He also remarked that the original painting is too cheerful/happy in the choice of color … in other words the yellows do not reflect the somber reality of society descending into chaos … I turned that thought around and around and then said to myself: “Perhaps it is a good thing for the old fabric of society to tear apart providing an opportunity for the young, fresh, generations to build a different society. I would be in favor of a more humane society.” Change is not a bad thing … stagnation is.  Now I have 4 variations on this painting. One with a white background, pointing skyward. One on a white background pointing into the earth. One with gray background shooting skyward and one with gray background pointing into the earth.

Well, it does explore the possibilities! I am in favor of white, cheerful, up-lifting explosions with the hope of an improved society permitting closer relationship between people and countries.

Consider the two aspects of this painting … One is a tearing apart of social bonds and the subsequent unraveling of the society with great distress and suffering. This is represented in the canvasses being hung on a gray wall and exploding downward. The other aspect of the painting, using a white, upward-thrusting explosion is that perhaps the tearing apart of the old society will allow new generations of people to form a better, more humane society, which is a positive thing.  A vibrant 21st century renaissance!  The upheaval in the Middle East might promote a more tolerant view of the role of women in this century … and a fairer distribution of wealth.  Which brings us back to our own country which is experiencing its own upheaval regarding wealth, fairness, and separation of Church and State.

So what is a social bond? The 21st century habit is to go to Wikipedia on the Internet. Here is the answer they provide:
Social Bond —- “The rather INTANGIBLE link between individuals and the society of which they are a part. The social bond is created through the process of socialization.” O.K. That is a beginning …

Next is the idea of social cohesion. “Social cohesion is the capacity of a society to ensure the well-being of ALL its members minimizing disparities and avoiding marginalization.”  (Report of the High Level Task Force on social cohesion in the 21st century) Council of Europe – 2011

Referring back to research, here is a quote from The Predictioneer’s Game by Bruce Bueno de Mesquita : “… science is a method, not a subject.  It is a method that relies on logical arguments and experimental evidence to figure out how the world of people – and things – works.”  The above painting/project is a logical exploration of form and direction for everyone to view and respond to … Research works in my Lithography class. I am recording the time it takes to etch a stone … a new stone which is an unknown quantity … 5 minutes? 8 minutes? … we need enough trials (prints) to ascertain how this particular stone reacts to the nitric acid. Yes, this qualifies as research.

The concept is harder to apply to an oil painting.  Here the research becomes the depth of the artist’s knowledge of the subject matter.  How much do I know about an oak tree? … about the sky over the Rio Grande Valley?  about the relationships of the local people to their delicate, desert environment? All this information takes time to acquire … and the desire to learn it.

Mary P Williams "Explosion" detail

Mary P Williams "Explosion" detail

Mary P Williams "Explosion" detail

Mary P Williams "Explosion" detail

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