On the Road to Mission, Texas
On the Road to Mission, Texas
Oil on birch plywood, 20" x 24"
La Malinche
La Malinche
Oil on canvas, 36" x 48"
Rope
Rope
Oil on canvas, 36" x 48"
Crossing the Rio Grande
Crossing the Rio Grande
Oil on canvas, 36" x 60"
La Malinche and the Priest
La Malinche and the Priest
Oil on birch plywood, 20" x 24"
Chance Meeting of a Baby and a Steel Fence
Chance Meeting of a Baby and a Steel Fence
Oil on birch plywood, 20" x 24"
Manifest Destiny
Manifest Destiny
Oil on birch plywood, 20" x 24"
Manifest Destiny #2
Manifest Destiny #2
Oil on birch plywood, 20" x 24"
Annunciation
Annunciation
Oil on birch plywood, 24" x 30"
The Innocent Escorpión
The Innocent Escorpión
Oil on birch plywood, 24" x 30"
Night Into Day / Day Into Night (triptych)
Night Into Day / Day Into Night (triptych)
Oil on birch plywood, three panels, 48" x 20" total
Monument #1, near El Paso, Texas
Monument #1, near El Paso, Texas
Oil on birch plywood, 30" x 24"
Monumento No. 2 (Vista al N.O., Cumbre de la Sierra de Muleros): To Malinche, Day and Night Are the Same
Monumento No. 2 (Vista al N.O., Cumbre de la Sierra de Muleros): To Malinche, Day and Night Are the Same
Oil on birch plywood, 30" x 24"
The Red Gloves
The Red Gloves
Oil on birch plywood, 30" x 24"
Franklin Mountains: Monumento #4
Franklin Mountains: Monumento #4
Oil on birch plywood, 20" x 24"
Another Stripe for the Tiger
Another Stripe for the Tiger
80" x 96" (four 20" x 24" panels, oil on birch plywood)
Another Stripe for the Tiger, panel #1
Another Stripe for the Tiger, panel #1
Oil on birch plywood, 20" x 24"
Another Stripe for the Tiger, panel #2
Another Stripe for the Tiger, panel #2
Oil on birch plywood, 20" x 24"
Another Stripe for the Tiger, panel #3
Another Stripe for the Tiger, panel #3
Oil on birch plywood, 20" x 24"
Another Stripe for the Tiger, panel #4
Another Stripe for the Tiger, panel #4
Oil on birch plywood, 20" x 24"
Aztec Glyphs: Thinking of Philip Guston
Aztec Glyphs: Thinking of Philip Guston
Oil on birch plywood, 20" x 24"
For Julia Caldera, Near Ciudad Juarez, 2000
For Julia Caldera, Near Ciudad Juarez, 2000
Oil on birch plywood, 20" x 24"
Franklin Mountains: Volunteers Look for People Who Are Lost
Franklin Mountains: Volunteers Look for People Who Are Lost
Oil on birch plywood, 20" x 24"
An Apology from Mr. Cortez
An Apology from Mr. Cortez
Oil on birch plywood, 40" x 40"
Nepantla
Nepantla
Oil on birch plywood, 40" x 40"
A Question of Heaven & Hell
A Question of Heaven & Hell
Oil on birch plywood, 36" x 24"
Untitled (Iguana)
Untitled (Iguana)
Oil on canvas, 43.25" x 41.5"

Border Fence 2017-2021 27 paintings

Achilles’ Field
Achilles’ Field
44 x 35 in
Present World
Present World
28" x 20"
Oleg Orlov, Chairman of Memorial, Putin & the Ukrainian Civil Patrol
Oleg Orlov, Chairman of Memorial, Putin & the Ukrainian Civil Patrol
26"x 20.5"
Syria
Syria
35 ½ x 29 ¼ in
Chair for Liu Xiaobo
Chair for Liu Xiaobo
30 ½ x 44 in
Bin Laden House
Bin Laden House
44 ½ x 45 in
Code / No Code
Code / No Code
25 x 30 ½ in
The Burial of Dr. Abbas Khan
The Burial of Dr. Abbas Khan
46 x 26 in
Fort Smith, Arkansas
Fort Smith, Arkansas
44 x 44 ¾ in
Doubles and Triples
Doubles and Triples
51 x 42 in
Mexican Boys
Mexican Boys
43 x 45 ½ in

Bardo Zone 2013–2017 11 paintings

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26″ x 20.5″

Bardo Zone are paintings where absence or a death is acknowledged. In the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, the bardo zone is where the dead rest before being reincarnated. Used loosely, the term bardo refers to the state between two lives on earth.

In ‘A Chair for Liu Xiaobo’, I am referring to the writer and critic now in prison for ‘subversion’ against the one-party Chinese state. He was awarded the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize, but was only present at the ceremony in the form of an envelope containing his award, sitting on an empty chair. In ‘Bin Laden House,’ there are clowns, soldiers, dancers and demons of various eras.

In ‘The Burial of Dr. Abbas Khan’, an English doctor had gone to Syria and died, probably at the hands of agents of Bashir Assad.

Friends visiting Turkey sent photographs of a field with small scattered remnants of walls and trees, thought to be the site where Hector and Achilles fought outside Troy. In ‘Achilles Field’ I added people from the present: a basketball star, a man dancing on a roof in New York City, Afghan kiln workers.

Long Memory
Long Memory
51 x 44 in
Voyageurs
Voyageurs
45 x 37 in
Echo Chamber
Echo Chamber
28 x 45 in
Heidegger’s Dilemma
Heidegger’s Dilemma
23 x 29 in
The Law of Water
The Law of Water
44 ½ x 34 ½ in
Riverside
Riverside
44 x 45 in
On the Beach at Islesboro
On the Beach at Islesboro
30 ½ x 36 in
Aylan Kurdi: out at sea, the  dawn wind wrinkles and slides
Aylan Kurdi: out at sea, the dawn wind wrinkles and slides
42 x 48 in

Voyageurs 2011–2012 8 paintings

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Voyageurs alludes to risk. I thought of the adventurers who hunted for beaver in what is now Canada, traveling by canoe.

In the painting, ‘Echo Chamber’, a nocturnal scene where bats are flying out of a cage on a dock, a fisherman dances on a boat being pulled by another fisherman, the dock is the place where people step from water onto land. The dock is an intermediate point. I think this painting suggests the interstitial moment between zones, between the quotidian world and the next one.

‘Heidegger’s Dilemma’ refers to the philosopher’s denial of complicity when Rector of a university during the Nazi rule.

Saint Jerome and Students from Tblisi
Saint Jerome and Students from Tblisi
36 x 45 in
River
River
40 x 48 in
Birdman in Lebanon
Birdman in Lebanon
33 ½ x 48 in
Soft Evening
Soft Evening
36 x 45 in
Kingfisher
Kingfisher
26 x 50 ½ in
Hunting by Firelight Marsh
Hunting by Firelight Marsh
29 ½ x 41 ¾ in
Jester and Monk
Jester and Monk
36 x 45 in
In Myanmar
In Myanmar
34 x 48 ¼ in
For the Family of Carl W. Johnson II
For the Family of Carl W. Johnson II
36 x 45 in
Thief of Sleep
Thief of Sleep
36 x 45 in
Hummingbirds Pakistani Lawyer
Hummingbirds Pakistani Lawyer
35 ½ x 47 ¼
Falcon Somali
Falcon Somali
44 ¾ x 47 ¼ in
For Hu Zia and Zeng
For Hu Zia and Zeng
35 ½ x 45 in
Parliament of Fowls
Parliament of Fowls
36 x 45 in
Siyah Qualam
Siyah Qualam
36 x 45 in
Young Lhasa Notables Go to Congress
Young Lhasa Notables Go to Congress
44 ¾ x 36 in
Nightwalk
Nightwalk
45 x 36 in
Bitter Blood
Bitter Blood
35 x 45 in
Shantala Shivalingappa
Shantala Shivalingappa
25 ½ x 44 ¾ in
Jiri Bubenicek
Jiri Bubenicek
36 ¼ x 45 in
Early Morning Prayers for Neda Agha Soltan
Early Morning Prayers for Neda Agha Soltan
37 ¼ x 45 in
Carrier Birds #5
Carrier Birds #5
36 x 45 in
Coda Angel Leaving Land
Coda Angel Leaving Land
37 x 32 in

Books of Hours / Reading the Qu’ran 2006–2010 23 paintings

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In preparing drawings for new work, as I have done since Books of Hours / Reading the Qu’ran, I’ll continue to use photographs from the daily newspaper as inspiration for drawings. They are all non-narrative allegories, for want of a better term. I also drew upon the 15th century Persian albums of drawings known as the Ya ‘qub Beg Albums, for images of demons and musicians.

Pelican
Pelican
Man from Lagos
Man from Lagos
Owl and Aqueduct
Owl and Aqueduct
Swallow
Swallow
Blackbirds
Blackbirds
Iraqi Ibis
Iraqi Ibis
Russian Soldiers
Russian Soldiers

Carrier Birds 2003–2006 7 paintings

Gallup late 70’s / early 80’s 27 paintings

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In 1991 I made a few oil paintings about Sequoyah’s Cherokee Syllabary. I have always been interested in the people who were living in North America before European settlers arrived. In a journal by Martha Jaqueth, from my father’s family, there is a tiny incident mentioned. A tall Indian man stepped into a house and the startled householder knocked over a candle on a table. I have yet to include it in a painting but I’m thinking about it.

When I worked in Gallup, New Mexico, in the late 70’s, what struck me was the gathering of 3 tribal reservations—Navajo, Hopi and Zuni—and a small Western town, where trains ran past, trading posts and pawn shops operated, a large truck dealership flourished and there was a hospital run by the Indian Health Service.

These paintings are emotional reactions to small events that occurred there, like a meeting at the Navajo Community College about a number of Vietnam vets living in the environs in bunker-like conditions, although I did not, as I never do, try to illustrate this. I’m not painting history but I can’t help respond to whatever the conditions are. They set the tone. These places also contained sweetness and delicacy. A Navajo film-maker whose short movie showed a rope uncoiling and rolling through the sagebrush. I wish I could remember his name and know what happened to his work.

Hitchhiker late 70’s / early 80’s Story

I don’t remember anymore. Was the man who looked like a crow the same as the hitch-hiker I saw just down the road from a sign saying WARNING: HITCH-HIKERS MAY BE ESCAPED CONVICTS?

It was a hot summer day. I spent the morning at Spiro Mounds. Around the parking lot, near the benches and paths that had been made during the Works Progress Administration, a man was cutting new grass. Inside, in the office, a woman greeted me. There wasn’t much to look at in the display cases. I thought of jaguar and eagle priests, remembered that there had once been panthers in Arkansas.

I drove on to Fort Smith, through Little Rock, Memphis, to Atlanta, where my sister lives.

Later, I discovered that Etowah, just northwest of Atlanta, is one of the most important sites of the Mound Culture people. Spiro is another. Creek, Natchez, and Chickasaw, descendants of the mound builders, were relocated westward in the 19th century. They are now scattered throughout Oklahoma.

I realized that I had traveled the same route as these tribes, only in another time, and in reverse.


So “who goes there,
hankering, gross, mystical,
nude”?
WALT WHITMAN?
APPARITION OF THE HIGHWAY
WARNING -Don’t get lost
Don’t try to fly as the crow.
We are not birds.
Think about the road,
the time it takes to find a path,
to know who it is by the side of the road.

 
Walt Whitman, “Song of Myself”.


It was the depression that forced some out of work miners to lease the Spiro site to see what they could find of marketable value within those intriguing mounds of earth found near the Arkansas River, just west of Fort Smith, Arkansas. The miners “strike” was one of the richest yet known in all of North American archaeology and the fantastic collection of embossed copper plates, engraved shell bowls and even elaborate wooden objects came flooding onto the market.

Elaborate artifacts of copper and stone had been known from the Southwestern United States since the 1860’s.

With Spiro, a triad was formed, from Spiro to Etowah to Moundville, near Tuscaloosa, Alabama. These sites demonstrated that there was a ceremonial group that existed in association with platform mounds. This complex occurred chronologically late, into our historical times, because European trade objects were found in a related site in Tennessee.
 
Compiled and written by the Writer’s Program of the Works Progress Administration, Oklahoma Guide to the Sooner State, Norman, Oklahoma, 1941, p.264.


Atlanta is first mentioned in Revolutionary War Records dated August 1, 1782, stating that a secret emissary had been delegated to report on rumors of friction between the Cherokee and Creek Indians at The Standing Peachtree. Named, according to legend, for a fruit-bearing tree that grew on a near-by Indian Mound, the Standing Peachtree was a Creek settlement on the southern bank of the Chattahoochee River, approximately seven miles from the present site of Atlanta. The Creek are said to have acquired the region south of the river from the Cherokee in a series of decisive ball games, with the land rights at stake.
 
George Hornby, editor, Your National Parks, New York, 1980, p. 5.


Until 1908 convicts were leased to private individuals or companies for work on railroads and other enterprises. After the abolishment of the system in that year the state for a time used convict labor in road construction, but now uses it only for the maintenance of highways…

Recent road development by the Civilian Conservation Corps and the farm-to-market road program under the Works Progress Administration have done much to expand and improve intra-state highway transportation and consequently to raise the standard of living in rural districts.
 
Introduction to Antonio J. Waring, Jr., The Waring Papers, Cambridge, Ma., 1968, edited by Stephen Williams, p. 5.


Darkness comes. Sounds creep out: whippoorwill, tree frogs, roar of alligator back in the pond…the scream of a cat in the swamp. Sounds like these weave in and out…pulling in hearsay tales…

Sometimes as you sat there, crazy Miss Sue would walk down the road giggling to herself. You’d say, “Howdy, Miss Sue,” and she would hurry past breathlessly as if to keep a late appointment or maybe she would stop, turn, look at you gently as if you were a childhood dream and then float away in the dusk. And you would watch her, bemused, not certain whether it was Miss Sue or your own strange notions walking down the road with you.
 
Lillian Smith, Killers of the Dream, New York, 1963, p. 140.


On the fifteenth (January, 1820) we again arrived at the post of Osark, or as it is now not very intelligibly called, Arkansas, a name by far too easily confounded with that of the river, while the name Osark, still assumed by the 224 lower villagers of the Quapaws, and in memory of whom this place was first so called, which would have been perfectly intelligible and original.

It was to this Cherokee settlement that Sam Houston came in 1829, after his designation as Governor of Tennessee. By a special act of the Cherokee Council in 1829 at Tahlonteeskee, Houston was formally adopted into the tribe. He took an Indian wife and lived in the vicinity of Fort Gibson for several years.

State 10 passes through a section dotted with the cabins of an isolated group of Indians. The majority of these people are full-blood Creeks who became members of the Cherokee tribe. While yet in their eastern homes, they opposed removal to the new Indian Territory and fled to the Cherokee Nation. Later, when the Cherokees were also forced to move, these adopted sons and daughters continued to live with them. Scattered among them are a few Natchez, members of a tribe usually regarded by ethnologists as extinct.

At 1.0 is the junction with another asphalt road.

Leaving State 10, this road passes near the ruins of an old SALT WORKS on Saline Creek that operated in 1820. From the one hundred huge kettles of salt water kept boiling most of the time, the refined salt was taken to a warehouse just about the near-by falls, where it was stored until keel boats could carry it down the river to Arkansas and Louisiana.
 
Thwaites, “Early Western Travels, 1748-1840,” Cleveland, 1905, Nuttell’s Journal, p. 291.


The end of the threats of Indian raids did not bring peace to the Indian territory. Now there were other threats. Lawless bands rode to the Territory, which by now was a curious island in the nation’s expansion. The rugged terrain and the legal entanglements caused by the Indian’s treaty rights created a vacuum in law enforcement. Only the Western District Court at Fort Smith had jurisdiction over the crimes involving persons not subject to the tribal courts. Into this vacuum swarmed hordes of horse thieves, bandits, and fugitives from justice. A handful of US Deputy Marshalls and the tribal Light Horse struggled to keep order. This was the situation when Judge Isaac C. Parker arrived at Fort Smith in 1875. He brought to the Western District Court personal dedication, incorruptibility, and sympathy for the Indian. These qualities soon won him respect at Fort Smith and in the Territory. During his 21 years on the bench he saw more than 13,000 cases docketed in his court. More than 9000 defendants were convicted or pleaded guilty. Of these, 344 were tried for capitol offenses and 160 were sentenced to hang. Only 79 were hanged, but they were cited as “proof” of Parker’s severity. Few detractors took notice of the tremendous load of the Western District Court or to the savage nature of the crimes committed.
 
The Fort Smith National Historic Site, Fort Smith, Arkansas.


I don’t remember anymore. Was the man who looked like a crow the same as the hitch-hiker I saw just down the road from a sign saying WARNING: HITCH-HIKERS MAY BE ESCAPED CONVICTS?

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Nadja Mixed media, with Roswell Angier 2001–2003 19 prints

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Nadja—how I love my little stick figure lady sitting in her studio. She is my witness to being in Fort Point, near Boston harbor. The studio windows looked up to the sky and across to another building where, as the sun set, at times a dancer entered, turning in slow pirouettes on the dark floor. Downstairs the satellite designers would be walking out into the evening. Outside, seagulls cruised; sometimes, a hawk.
 
Statement from Susan Hawley and Roswell Angier:
 
This project began as a conversation about our work as artists. We were thinking about the influence of place on content, and how ideas spring out of chance encounters.

The conversation would begin when I would call Roswell on my cell from the bridge over the channel. The wind would be whistling in the background. There would be peaks and valleys of sound, bird calls and the hum of traffic. We spoke of the bridge as a walkway over a moat.

We have imagined a series of mirages intersecting with the life of the city. The work done inside leaks out into the street, merges with the pedestrians, hovers at the end of the day. The actual place—where artists work in the midst of other businesses—is alive with this mix of industry, old retail businesses and newer high tech design companies. There is a marine supply store nearby, and a company that makes communications satellites. Development has incrementally meant that many artists have had to leave the neighborhood. New construction frames the old wharf buildings that once housed wool for the mills of Lawrence. 25 inch ceilings have been lowered by acoustic tiles as offices and apartments have started to fill in the space.
 
Two books were inspirational:

In Invisible Cities, Italo Calvino wrote about how Marco Polo kept favor with Kublai Khan by describing the cities he’d visited. They were imaginary constructions. Or else it was always the same city, the capital of the Khan’s kingdom, described over and over again, each time in a different way. It was Polo’s job to keep the Emperor’s imagination alive.

In Nadja, Andre Breton wrote about his encounters in the Paris streets with a woman who was a clairvoyant. He used her sensibility as a bridge, a means for him to connect to the urban subconscious. [She served as his muse until, inconveniently, she grew too demanding. But then, conveniently, she was discovered to be mad.] “Do you see that window up there? It’s black, like all the rest. Look hard. In one minute, it will light up. It will be red.” The minute passes. The window lights up, illuminating red curtains. I am sorry, he writes, but I am unable to do anything about the fact that this may exceed the limits of credibility.