"Double Cross" / Charmaine Locke "Chaos and Mayhem"

The term "double cross" has only been around for one hundred and fifty years or so. I looked it up and read about its origins and meaning. To narrow it down to a point, I would say that the words "fair" and "square" both mean honest and the words "double" and "cross" both had their origins in and about dishonesty. I am laying this out because I feel that a certain part of the religious right has turned their backs on much of their teachings and sold their souls for political beliefs. In return for this, they pay homage to a man who adheres to none of their stated core beliefs. I would ask them to hold in one hand the core teachings of their savior; in the other hand hold the demeanor and daily actions of the President of the United States. Weigh the two very carefully; then ask yourself, which is more sacred to you? The psychological nature of the two are not compatible. Which of the two do you choose? I made the sculpture "Double Cross" to stand as a reminder of what I consider to be a betrayal of teachings I was taught in Sunday school and in the First Baptist Church I was baptized into when I was only ten years old.

These are trying times for us all. This moment-to-moment psychological bombardment on community, country and world takes a toll, both personal and universal. The physical components of a lethal disease and national unrest (as they relate to making a major break with the past) have made us turn inward to ask some serious psychological questions as to who we are as a people. Throughout Charmaine Locke's career as an artist, she has been in a state of "searching"; she is by nature a "what" and "why" artist. She contemplates human nature and questions the destructive impulses of humans. She has made a series of anti-war statements throughout the years and is now working on a series that takes a deep look at this.

A week ago, I walked into her studio and there it was, setting on a table-high easel, "Chaos and Mayhem," a new ink and paint artwork showing an explosive depiction of a world gone awry, an up close view of blood like oceanic life that is devouring itself. This work of art is like a personal Guernica. It shows all of the effects and affects of blood battles - explosive manifestations on microscopic levels of our existence. This painting is like a bloodbath being magnified a thousand times. There are wheels with seven spokes, rolling, with no ability to stop. There are wheels connected in molecular fashion, each having a smaller diameter of circular patterns around its center. Is this a flower or are you staring down the barrel of a Gattlin-gun, firing a chaotic reality that has been with humanity since the beginning? Why do we do the things we do? That question comes at us in a boiling red tidal wave, forcing our very being upward through a crushing weight of atmospheric mayhem. This work is alive with the question of "Why?" Why is it within human nature to be destructive on so many levels? "Chaos and Mayhem" lets us see and know the paradox between the individual and humanity at large.

James Surls currently lives and works in Carbondale, Colorado and Splendora, Texas.