After the War Everything Was Fine, Nothing Was Wrong at All
After Total War Came Total Living, 96" x 96", Oil on Canvas, 2017
That Woman is Real Competition, 96" x 96", Oil on Canvas, 2017
How to Develop a He-Man Personality, 96" x 96", Oil on Canvas, 2017
In this series After the War Everything Was Fine, Nothing Was Wrong at All, I am exploring the themes of alcoholism and the American Dream by creating a narrative based on the childhood of my parents and my emotions resulting from my experiences with alcoholism in my family. The American Dream is the idea that if an individual works hard enough they can achieve anything; your success is your success and your failures are your failures. While the promise of reaching utopia through hard work is a noble concept, it is flawed in its execution. American society is stratified through race, class, and gender. Equal opportunity is a fallacy designed to hide the fact that the only people who reap the benefits of the American Dream are those from the upper echelons of this society. In this series, I contextualize aspects of American society that are the most real to me to come to terms with my ancestral trauma and understand how I am a product of this environment.
The idyllic state of being that is promised to those who work hard never materializes. The meritocracy that America champions itself as causes individuals to blame themselves for their perceived shortcomings when these shortcomings only exist because of unattainable societal expectations. Like a dog on a treadmill chases after a treat strung up in front of it, individuals work with a fervor that spins the cogs of society at the expense of their own well-being. The characters in this series are shown using alcohol to provide a respite from an environment where nothing ever turned out as good as they expected. While the drive of these protagonists to achieve their dream is admirable, their relationship with alcohol as a means to escape their reality makes them ironic, tragic, and grotesque caricatures of the dream they idolize.