The American Series. The Wailing Wall Blues Part 2. Oil on Canvas. 49.5’’ x 37.5’’ x 1.5’’
The painting has been created using oil on stretched, primed canvas on a wooden frame. An initial thin wash has been applied made from phtalo blue, Prussian blue and alizarin crimson. Once dried it gives a solid base to apply the later layers of paint.
The theme of The Wall, Donald Trumps threatened barrier remains a prevalent theme to the painting. There are three walls in the image.
To the left hand side is a wall which resembles the Stars and Stripes flag but notable the stars have been removed from the flag and the stripes have been reversed. This inversion comments on the reversal of traditional democratic values and the blatant threat to the Old World Order.
A second wall comprising white blocks stretches down the right hand diagonal of the painting. The white blocks resemble the walls of a prison or perhaps an asylum.
A third wall just into the image from the left hand side. It is made of grey blocks and is incomplete suggesting that it hasn’t been finished or half of it has been destroyed.
A brown, grey industrial sky hangs above the scene, illuminated by a single light bulb. The atmosphere seems stale and mephitic.
To the left hand side of the diagonal, in front of the Stars and Stripes wall three hooded figures are trapped in stocks, other hooded figures standing guard beside them. The prisoners and imprisoned are faceless and featureless suggesting what we say, what we do, how we communicate becomes invalid when we submit to deranged policies and misguided beliefs.
At the back of the scene an abstract figure has been bound and strung up by three sets of ropes as two ghost like, fleshy ghouls haunt it from above.
In the foreground sit three figures at a dining table. The left hand character points at the most prominent figure in the nearest stocks. The other two figures are doubled over the table. Are they laughing, or crying. Are they bemoaning the current situation or finding it hilarious?
The painting discusses power, the threat to our traditional values, the venture into the unknown and if we are brave enough to stand up and speak out against prejudice and inequality.
The painting can be first seen at the upcoming Summer FLUX exhibition at The Chelsea College of Art 12th – 16th July
For more about Thomas Dowdeswell's American Series see his website