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"The Sans-culottes Today"
charcoal on paper, 20 drawings, 26" X 19", 2005


“The Sans-Culottes Today” is a narrative sequence of 20 drawings. In this work the figure of the sans-culotte—radical predominantly working class citizen of the Paris sections during the French revolution—is re-imagined in the United States of today.

The landscapes and events depicted are symbolic representations of anger, political ineffectualness, and despair. Some of the imagery was inspired by the news coverage of the flood destruction of New Orleans after hurricane Katrina. But the drawings are also meant to show an incipient resilience of spirit. The protagonist in nearly every drawing wears the traditional cap of liberty, the Phrygian cap, as if to suggest that a new consciousness can be born even in such dire straits.

A few of the drawings show a darker side of righteous anger. It can happen that the further down one’s spirit is beaten by the dominant political culture the more stark can become the language of ideals: violence can seem a sufficient tool when it feels like the response of silence greets every cry.

Prologue: A seasoned sceptic moved to tears by the pure and tender flame of nascent talent Reading in rain The weak shall rise against their oppressors, both real and imagined Death will also shed its tears for the more fortunate The power of vision available to all
The artist visits the disaster site and resuscitates the drowned No earthly good An empty-pocket mobile Waiting for rescue Sentry
Waiting for rescue 2 Leave nothing behind When the artist measures his prison the drowned begin to resurface Torrential obsequiousness When you cover your eyes the threats come closer--waiting for rescue 3