I like to work as a visual devil’s advocate, using contradiction as a vehicle for finding my way to an empathetic image, an image of opposition that creates a balance - as well as a clash - by comparing and contrasting ideas and materials.This manifested in a series of “Industrial Doilies”, pulling together industrial and domestic life as well as relationships of strong and delicate, masculine and feminine, practical and frivolity, ornament and function. There is also a secondary relationship being explored here, of lace used in religious ceremonies as in weddings, christenings and funerals,

With this notion of desirable oppositions I created the structure “fabricate”. In this Structure I hand cut lace trimming patterns into 9 I-beams, then constructed a tower, simultaneously macho, and of delicate finery. The metaphor of lace further intrigued me by its associations of hiding and exposing at the same time; like a veil to cover, or lingerie to reveal. It also introduces a kind of humor through the form of unexpected relationships. Like a Wrestler in a tutu, the absurdity of having opposing extremist stances is there for reaction and not rational understanding; the rational discussion arises in the search for how one thing defines the other by its proximity.

My new work has become more political, the consequence of living in a time of war and feeling the guilt of a bystander. With the first political piece titled “Filigree Car Bombing” I focused on creating a tasteless relationship of images. Images of flowers and “prettiness” in the form of a violent and sensitive situation. The crushed steel of the car is cut into fine lace creating a drapery of disruption and sadness, a conflict of attraction to fancy work and the attraction to a horrific image.

In my most recent exhibition entitled “Crude”, pulled together the relationship of God and Oil. Though the images are dealing with overt political topics the images do not point to anything specific - they merely coexist - and what it says really depends on the viewer’s history. This work consists of a series of oil cans that have been flayed open in the form of a cross shape or a gothic cathedral floor plan. The cans are then cut into Christian or Medieval like Icons. Fine, like tattered paper, the jagged edge of the thin metal becomes both an ancient and contemporary image, thereby appealing to both those who cling to history, and those who ignore it.Along side of the cans are three 45 gallon oil drums. The drums are skinned and unrolled to create a surface. The surface is then pulled up the wall and cut into a multiple of images from tattoo patterns to fabric patterns to religious and hazard symbols. The collage of images create a war of symbols which become a medieval-like tapestry.

I have always been interested in embracing the very thing that repels me in order to understand it: I prefer to make sense of things or in order to suspend (or pass) judgment.

Extremes, though contrary, have the like effects. Extreme heat kills, and so extreme cold: extreme love breeds satiety, and so extreme hatred; and too violent rigor tempts chastity, as does too much license.

 

George Chapman