At the start of 2001, I began having dreams
of women carrying torsos. Approaching the women, I would ask them
for these decomposing remains, usually of their sons. I would explain
that I needed to take the torsos back to my studio. It was an awkward
question, but nobody said no.
By 2001 I had painted over one hundred works
depicting actual events as well as national myths involving famous
— sometimes nefarious — Americans. I felt not only ready
but an urgent need to take on the most seminal event of our nation’s
history: the American Civil War. I would use the Civil War as a
metaphor for the endless futility of all wars. I would paint the
work from the inside of Clara Barton’s mind: It would be her
flashbacks, her memories and nightmares, if they were to come crashing
back all at once. The painting would be in three parts: RED —
premonition; WHITE — actuality; BLUE — aftermath. I
would also employ the two medieval depictions of hell: RED for fire,
WHITE for ice, thus combining time and temperature.
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© 2006 Tina Mion. All rights reserved.