Iraq Memorial II
24 in X 32 in.
Digital painting.

This is obviously a take off from Rene Magrite's "This is not a pipe" painting. Until recently I thought the ideas associated with that painting were academic and not very connected to the real world. But now considering what was going on at the time he made it (1920's, 30's) --- Godel's Incompleteness Theorem (1931) and other work in logic, philosophy, and mathematics of that time --- it has more meaning for me. Sadly, I'm using the idea "This is not a ..." with a meaning that now is not at all academic. This painting, Iraq Memorial II, suggests to me how we can fool ourselves to our own detriment. We called these things "IED's" standing for Improvised Explosive Devices. Think of the implications of this so very sanitized phrase. Oh it's not a bomb, it shouldn't be taken too seriously. After all, it's only an improvised little thing. Those primitive Iraqis are just throwing things together. They don't know what they are doing. We, on the contrary, have vast teams of engineers who design, build, and test our military weapons which can guide themselves halfway around the earth, at great expense, all according to exact specifications. These little things are just insignificant toys thrown together by desperate, ignorant, "dead enders". No, this is not a bomb--- nothing to worry about. Yet half our casualties in Iraq come from these improvised non-bombs.If we had faced reality head on and been less arogant, calling a bomb "a bomb", and reacting accordingly, maybe fewer US soldiers would have been killed and wounded.

Exhibited at Dinnerware Contemporary Arts Gallery, Mar. 2007

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