This June, I did something I’ve been meaning to do for several years: I created a painting each day of the month to celebrate Pride.
I was having fun with this project, and adhering quite nicely to my self-imposed deadlines. Then Orlando happened, and the project took on a slightly new meaning.
Where earlier in the project, I experimented in style and celebrated not only the idea of Pride itself, but also a “I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow” kind of thinking, after June 12, I felt less celebratory and decidedly more serious. The faces and events that I pinned to the wall above my bed delivered – needed to deliver, for me – a sense of protection. The paintings became more focused on portraits – faces – looking down and yes, I saw them as protectors.
People who know me know that I’m quite superstitious. Maybe that’s my (decidedly former) Catholic background talking, the need for an icon to look to for stability. Maybe the absence of that statuary, scapulary et al, in my life dictates the current need to carry an Evil Eye in my pocket every day, as well as to have these portraits (icon-like) looking down from above my bed.
In any case, 12 of these Pride paintings will be on display at First Covenant Church in Seattle, with an opening reception on July 14, 2016, from 6:00 – 9:00 pm. The exhibition honors the victims of the Orlando murders.
It’s hard to overstate the importance of this project to me. When I began, I imagined the possibility of glitter and silliness. But less than halfway through, although there were still some lighter notes (talking to you, Lesbian Pirates) gravitas became a necessity. And I deeply appreciated the many people who wrote to me and thanked me for helping them to process the events in Orlando via my paintings. That was precious to me, and as an artist, there’s nothing higher than that.
Unfortunately, now we turn our attention to other tragedies, with our thoughts in Minnesota and Baton Rouge. I can hardly say I’ve come to terms with Orlando, and we’re faced with these additional senseless killings. I hope for a sense of closure for Orlando through this exhibition, and I promise there will be upcoming work that deals with Black Lives Matter.
Drop by, open-house style, at First Covenant Church for Capitol Hill Art Walk. I’ll be there, and hope you will too.
First Covenant Church (Summit Building)
420 E. Pike St.
Thursday, July 14, 2016
6 – 9 PM
Light refreshments provided
Exhibition on view until August 10.