October 13, 2008

The Return of the Palindrome Pig

In my earlier blog, Sarah Palindrome, an irreverent take on the vice-presidential candidate, I illustrated the text with a naive-looking painting of a pig with a head on both sides of its body. Because I wanted to have a visual representation of a palindrome, I needed to make something with bilateral symmetry. In order to do this I made a stencil by drawing half of a pig onto a piece of paper, folding the other side of the paper in half and cutting out. Since I had a stencil of this strange little form I made several other paintings to try different colors and cut out shapes. Some of them looked like Chinese folk paper cuts so I incised an ancient form of a Chinese character on one - the word for "flying."
I became interested in making quick multiples of the same shape after viewing the Andy Warhol exhibition now on display at the Mint Museum of Art in Charlotte, North Carolina. My original interest at the Mint Museum was their extraordinary collection of Pre-Columbian art but the Warhol exhibit was a pleasant surprise. His large square paintings and silkscreens of Hibiscus Flowers revealed brilliant color harmonies that I had previously not fully appreciated as an aspect of Warhol’s art. So with these impressions fresh to the senses, I made use of that most primitive of printing - the stencil - for an unexpected Palindrome Pig series.
Usually, when making art, my original intentions are supplanted by something else. Maybe this something else this time was a visual manifestation of worries bubbling up from the subconcious after watching so much anxiety-ridden news about the economy. This didn’t become clear to me until an artist colleague of mine said that the two-headed pig reminded her of the current state of the U.S. economy. She may have discovered an unintended truth here in this illustration of a beast that consumes on both sides of its body, produces nothing and has no clear exits!

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