this Confederacy of Dunces - Red Cross Series, 61
The installation, this Confederacy of Dunces, is inspired by the larger than life, self-assured and somewhat eccentric character, Ignatius Reilly, from the novel A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole. The title of Toole’s novel is taken from a quote by Jonathan Swift from his essay “Thoughts on various subjects, Moral and Diverting”: “When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him.” The novel is set in New Orleans, Louisiana, where my family home was destroyed by hurricane Katrina in 2005. This tragedy inspired a body of work titled, The Red Cross Series. I began a series of paintings a month before the flood that included red crosses and figures with dunce caps. The first painting, NOLA drowned, seemed to be a premonition of the tragedy that occurred. The dunce cap and red cross serve as graphic elements as well as recognizable icons loaded with allusions and insinuations leaving the narrative open for the viewer to construct. My work has always been concerned with beauty in the mundane, the absurdity of reality and the nonlinear aspects of existence. I am interested in creating ambiguous situations with simple forms and everyday objects that amplify the illogicality of the everyday and the uncontrollable tragedies that are an aspect of the uncertainty of life.