National Emergency

Tamar AldrichMFA The University of the Arts 2013 National Emergency Oil and mixed media 32” x 40”  Stretched Canvas 10/2009

Tamar Aldrich MFA The University of the Arts 2013
National Emergency
Oil and mixed media
32” x 40” Stretched Canvas

It is common knowledge that a flag hung at half- mast is a sign of mourning. It is most traditionally seen when a high ranking political official or military personnel as a victim of war passes away. However have you ever seen a flag flown upside down? It is not a sign of disrespect. It is a statement also. It signifies a national emergency.
In this particular painting I have used contemporary symbolism to make a statement about what I seen as a prevailing troublesome cultural phenomenon.
When I returned to college as a non-traditional student I was in my mid-forties. I was asked by the Dean of Student Affairs what was the major difference I experienced as a student in today’s college scene from when I was a student 20 years earlier. The use of computers was of course the most obvious difference. However, I had also noticed that everyone was plugged in. That alone does not seem like much of an issue, but when you factor in the effect then it becomes troublesome. Head phone, earbuds, phones and iPhones were in constant use by a majority of students on campus. There was a hush over the campus as thousands of students walked from class to class that was unsettling. You no longer were able to interact with the people around you because they were engaged otherwise. Although their bodies were present their minds were not. Most people looked down as they talked or listened on their devise. That was a shame because one of the founding principles of a college experience is the interaction you have with other people.
Colleges and Universities go to great lengths to create an environment of cultural diversity. It is for the benefit and education of the students and also for the University to be a forum for a think –tank of sharing of different ideas and experiences. There are even laws in place that colleges must conform to too ensure that all types of people are present. Yet if no one interacts it is all a waste. If no one is interacting and no conversations are happening then how is new information discovered. It isn’t. Therefore there is no growth.
I created this painting as a statement of that. It began with clippings of headlines from newspapers, topics that were of a serious national and international level. World hunger, the failing bank system, war, poverty, unemployment, issues that are fundamental to the existence of the human condition.
I sketched out a rudimentary American flag upside down and pasted the headlines into the white stripes of the flag. I added color in the appropriate areas and then I selected the iconic graphic of the iPhone and changed it up a bit. A silhouette of dancing, jamming, active teen plugged into their device. I worked the figures in and around the composition and then added the curving thin lines that hand swirl , entangle and drape over the stripes as if they are bars. I added the hand and iPhone as a starting point for interpretation.
It is an expression of my interpretation of the experience of witnessing a cultural phenomon of the youth in this great country of America.

One thought on “National Emergency

  1. Bob

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