One and Many
The final project in this series explored collective and composite subjects. At a time when people awere beginning to meet in public places again, "One and Many" was a large public artwork that instigated an active, collective reflection on the body and the body politic, self and community and the the part to the whole.
On March 3, 2022 I exhibited a 25 foot long painting of a poppy field across the front of the Riverside Museum. The work was composed of over 100 individual artworks. Viewers who attended the "opening" of the one-work exhibition during the city's monthly art walk were be invited to select one of these individual works to bring home with them. In return, they filled in the empty space on the canvas revealed by removing their artwork. Viewers thus became collectors and participants.
Why poppies? Poppies are among the first flowers to burst into bloom in spring. In California there are entire parks dedicated to the huge hillside tapestries they weave with their petals.
In this work, I celebrate this beautiful if fleeting bloom, along with other properties and symbolic meanings of the fragile flower. Poppies have been associated with spring fields and life since antiquity, so too their narcotic properties. They symbolize fertility and life, dream states and death. Since WWI red poppies have been worn in English speaking countries to honor veterans. Trade in the products of the poppy were at the center of the colonial Opium wars in China. Today, in Afghanistan, and around the world, farmers uproot food crops to plant opium poppies to survive. ( for more click here)
On-site ethnographers explored the making of the work with participants. Later, I will follow up wit to see how the scattered artworks have taken root int their lives. When someone contemplates the piece they hang in their living room, does the original painting persists as an after-image? Does that memory reactivate thoughts about "one and many" ?