Uncle Frank had a ’71 Malibu. Dad took it and painted it red. As far as I could tell, everything had to be red. Mom taught me to drive in a ’73 Monte Carlo. Always over the line or on the shoulder, that Chevy destroyed everything in its path. It was a now extinct shade of green, and no match for Randy Mowder’s metallic blue ’68 Nova or Tim Guzek’s pearl white Galaxie 500. Guzek had his license in the ninth grade and he’d roll up, just before first bell of course, with seven or eight of us packed into that boat. The whole school would watch in envy as we piled out of his glorious machine. First car was an old hand me down, another Malibu, aptly named “Grey Ghost.” I left that heap in a ditch one night, never to be seen again.
Just as the Grey Ghost careened into the ditch, the custom car has slipped into metaphor…a passing piece of nostalgia that dissolves into a different breed of vessel. It carries the weight of color and garish power. A fabricated heritage. A tradition of muscle and hubris with each layer of paint burying another disgraceful historical epoch. Customs define culture.
Color, dress and ceremony provide initial modes of impression. In the context of this work, color allows me to focus a conscious memory. The paint has been stripped away from the car and littered across the landscape. A new environment is peppered with red for native Americans, plots of black for slaves and shades of yellow for Vietnamese. I follow the contours and shapes as they blend and bleed into greed and prejudice.
The celebration of the custom car is a ceremony as powerful as the seeds of bigotry. And yet, the dizzying reminiscence created by the passing candy apple red camaro still cranes my neck. In the work, I am able to assemble awareness, and the onset historical amnesia is foiled. Through this process of understanding, subjugated cultures become prominent and the car’s power becomes more vulnerable, less vital, yet still beautiful.
4919 Penn Ave
Pittsburgh PA, PA
Starting: April 06, 2012
Ending: May 18, 2012
Contact: Send Message
Dress Code: No
Parking Fee: No
April 21, 2012 06:13am