I created this painting, Dissecting Union v. Liberty, in the spring of 2015. President Barack Obama was still in office. President Donald Trump was yet to announce his candidacy for the 2016 Presidential Election. The original concept I developed for the 2004 AIGA Get Out the Vote poster campaign.
The concept was derived from George Washington's farewell address, which is introduced by The National Archives: "In his farewell Presidential address, George Washington advised American citizens to view themselves as a cohesive unit and avoid political parties and issued a special warning to be wary of attachments and entanglements with other nations."
Washington wrote (likely with the help of James Madison and Alexander Hamilton): "...that your union ought to be considered as a main prop of your liberty, and that the love of the one ought to endear to you the preservation of the other."
My intent was to celebrate my liberty and freedom of speech by "dissecting" the elements of our our national symbol. Then, reshaping them into a form that separates them individually, but positions them in position to lean on each other. The idea for the viewer to imagine moving one element, and the entire field having to shift its form.
As I write this in 2017, Donald Trump is our President, and our country is in open debate about our flag, our anthem, how to respect it, and how to respect each other. While my original concept was to celebrate our freedoms and our liberties and our expressive individualism, I feel the tone of our Country has shifted, and now the feeling of this painting is one of a country torn apart by parties and no longer that cohesive symbol I was trying to reshape in celebration.
Pull away a star, or a stripe of white or red and see this formation tumble down.