Soldier / Flag Piece with Gay Content / Learning to Paint

This work was made for an exhibition in the mid-1990s. It primarily deals with personal loss and public issues of the time while obliquely referencing the book form. Flag Piece with Gay Content responds to a controversy over gay men and boy's participation in the Boy Scouts of America. I had fond memories of scouting and utilized some of the craft skills learned as a scout in making the work. The flag was a gift from a friend; the contents are shredded gay magazines. (There was discussion about adding a flag burning amendment to the Constitution at the time).

Soldier consists of two paper "trees" made from rolled and cut gay magazines, a technique I had learned in cub scouts. The two columns of paper grew out of a pair of military desert spats given to me by another friend. This was between the two Gulf wars, and the issue of gays serving in the military was starting to take shape as well.

The wall piece is titled Learning to Paint. It was made as a meditative performance over the summer while sitting in the back garden, painting letterforms with liquid paper on the inside covers of the Encyclopedia Americana. (These covers were left over from The USM Encyclopedia Project, and were removed from the set of encyclopedia I used when I was a boy scout.)