Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Flags flying

In April I saw a delightful exhibit of American flag paintings by David Morsman at the Kentucky Museum of Art + Craft in Louisville.  For one reason or another I didn't get the post up in a timely fashion, and decided to hold it till Flag Day.

The imagery of his paintings is intriguing and the technique is mesmerizing; everything is covered in a thick layer of resin that makes the work glow.

American Flag Abstraction

American Flag over French Flag

American Flag over French Flag -- detail

American Flag Abstraction

You might think that Jasper Johns holds the current patent on the American flag as art, but these paintings take a different tack and don't seem at all derivative.  Where Johns' flag paintings grapple with existential questions of art -- "is it a flag, or is it a painting?" -- Morsman seems to just enjoy the familiar colors and shapes of the flag. 

And perhaps this is my message for Flag Day. Let's take a day off from grappling with the political questions of whether elected representatives or wannabe presidential candidates must wear flag pins in their lapels to prove their patriotism, or whether the flag somehow is aligned with the military.  Let's just enjoy the flag today as an innocent and joyful symbol of the things that are right with this wonderful country.

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful the american flag abstraction. I´ve neve seen this before. So inspiring for a quilt!
    Well...and your "memorial day quilt" sooo much inspiring too!!