Painting History: Images of Conflict

Asst Prof Kevin Haran
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In this presentation I will discuss my series of works collectively titled Painting History (1998-2005). The images are watercolors, collages, and mixed-media paintings on wood depicting battlefield scenes and portraits of soldiers. In the large watercolors, I use a photo-realist technique capturing soldiers (which include my father firing a cannon in WWII) in all types of poses: standing, crouching, sitting, pushing, and lifting--that suggest choreography centered around an artillery piece. Although they function as a group, the men are isolated in their own specific activity. The paintings reference a passage in Norman Mailer’s Naked and the Dead and James Jones' the Thin Red Line.

So despite the apparent anonymity of the group, I have a direct personal connection to the subject due to the presence of my father. Through these images, I am dealing with family history while attempting to address a larger history of human conflict. The paintings do not try to pass judgement on the nature of war, but rather document an aspect of it that the viewer may contemplate. The small-scale wood panel paintings attempt to reflect the violence of the battlefield. To balance this energy and chaos I have introduced still life imagery (such as a bowl of cherries derived from Roman frescoes) that, in an absurd way, evokes tranquility. War films, war photography and even the recent movie version of War of the Worlds influence these battlefield "set pieces".

Keywords: Visual Art, Painting, War, Design, Photography
Stream: Art and Human Rights
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.

Asst Prof Kevin Haran

Assistant Professor, Department of Art, University of Central Florida

Ref: A06P0344