The Promise of Tomorrow
 
“The Promise of Tomorrow“ exhibition features three series of works: “Drone Legislation”, “Flood” and “Man Carrying a Cross”. An alternate title might be “Land, Air and Sea” as each grouping of works coincidentally has a reference point in one of those three realms. Together this show then has an all-encompassing perspective that looks towards the future. A future that increasingly finds us dependent on devices, which in turn are directed by a hidden language and code that we cannot “see”. “The Promise of Tomorrow“ pictures those letters, numbers, words and sentences within configurations of paintings, linked together as containers, each one holding a visually proportionate piece of the greater mass. All the works are text based, some on paper and some on linen, with two of the groupings engaging more directly with elements of the Christian faith.
 
The “Drone Legislation” series though not specifically referencing religion, is an offshoot of earlier work that relates aerial technology to heavenly spiritual forces. The text was sourced from state legislation passed, starting in 2013, regarding regulatory policies that different states have applied to commercial sUAS (drone) operation. Each grouping of “Drone Legislation” drawings is painted using red gouache and contains the complete legislative language of that particular state’s law. Within the transcription of the rendered language is circled out, in word search fashion, intuitively discovered words like: Orwell, Orgy, Last Supper and Mewl, giving the dry text a saucy and suggestive undertone.
 
The “Flood” drawings are an accumulative transcription of a 30,000 word online comment stream, painted in gouache, each drawing representing only a piece of the whole, requiring 320 drawings in all to complete the piece. Within the rendered transcription, a whole section of the bible, starting with the story of Noah, through the tower of Babel and on into the story of Abraham, is circled out in word search fashion. The sourced comment stream follows a news article that reports on the sad reality regarding the vanishing of the traditional culture of the Moken Sea Nomads of Thailand/Myanmar. Both texts anguish over the fate of humanity and consequently both texts include words like “destruction” and “earth”
 
“Man Carrying a Cross” is the newest piece in the show and is being shown for the first time here. It consists of 72 small two-sided interactive canvases arranged in the form of a cross. Each canvas has a URL (web address) painted on it, which references an image found on the Internet, of a man carrying a cross. Here we represent the land based part of the exhibit in a work of art that is an extension of the artist’s own experience of witnessing a man shouldering a large wooden cross fitted with rear wheels, passing through the byways of his small town. This act is a recent cultural phenomenon, which has been repeated by many, everywhere and in very similar fashion: the cross has rear wheels; the trekker wears a day-glo vest, sunglasses, backpack and running shoes. Viewing the physical paintings in the show, one is invited to interact with each canvas by opening it like a book to read biblical text on its reverse and see schematically painted “pieces of the cross” mounted to the wall behind each canvas. At the same time, as paintings, they can’t be viewed or understood alone, rather one must look away and consult a technological device in order to “see” the image that the code references.
 
Kenny Cole
October 2016
 
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