End of Empire, 2006
Acrylic on paper, 50 sheets
5 feet x 13.25 feet
Works on Paper
Gallery Sonja Roesch, Houston, TX, 2006
The United States is without question an imperial empire and times certainly look a whole lot like the fall of the Roman Empire. American policy, values, and culture have entered into a decidedly post-classical (Hellenistic, Mannerist, Rococo) phase. Thinking about the United Kingdom during the 19th Century and the expression “the sun never sets on the British Empire”, I made a piece that, although non-objective, read like a big sunset.
End of Empire was made specifically for Gallery Sonja Roesch’s fall Works on Paper exhibition, for which the gallery asked me to create a piece related to my earlier work Red, Red, Red, Redder than Red (see below). The new piece was slightly larger and consisted of 50 individual sheets of paper (5 rows of 10 papers) pinned directly to the wall. The format of the piece was a double, horizontal square — I often work in a square or double square, panoramic format. End of Empire employed 5 rows of cadmium colors, each outlined with a darker “shadow” color. Rather than using grays and blacks for the shadow colors, I selected to use various hues and values of brown.
By total coincidence, during the course of the exhibition, the November 2006 general elections ushered in Democratic majorities in both the House of Representatives and Senate. This was particularly satisfying. The sunset became for the time being a sunrise.