Mixed Media: Wedding Party in Yemen 48" x 60" 2016


The Rhetoric of Innocence

(work in progress)

From Moby Dick, Chapter 81 The Pequod Meets the Virgin:

His eyes, or rather the places where his eyes had been, were beheld. As strange misgrown masses gather in the knot-holes of the noblest oaks when prostrate, so from the points which the whale's eyes had once occupied, now protruded blind bulbs, horribly pitiable to see but pity there was none. For all his old age, and his one arm, and his blind eyes, he must die the death and be murdered, in order to light the gay bridals and other merry-makings of men, and also to illuminate the solemn churches that preach unconditional inoffensiveness by all to all. Still rolling in his blood, at last he partially disclosed a strangely discolored bunch or protuberance, the size of a bushel, low down on the flank.

"A nice spot," cried Flask; "just let me prick him there once."

"Avast!" cried Starbuck, "there's no need of that!"

But humane Starbuck was too late.

How do Americans reconcile their dominance, with the violence necessary to establish and maintain it? The Rhetoric of Innocence is a series of mixed media digital compositions that explore and imagine narratives designed to protect the myth of American benevolence.