One of my latest pieces has a name as big as Texas! “Irresistible Charm with Scratches and Turbulence or The Center Cannot Hold” is a digital collage composed of photos from my own collection and other photographers worldwide.
In the opening stanza of The Second Coming by WB Yeats, there is a phrase that has haunted me through the years. “The center cannot hold” perfectly describes periods of my life when I was being torn asunder by competing forces inside of me. It also aptly describes a world of war, change, and uncertainty.
This piece is a difficult one in terms of composition. It is not expected, but that is why it speaks to me. I need to tell you about the layers that make up this composition. In the background, a boardwalk extends into infinity. On top of that are several spliced elements. There’s a selfie of my partner and I hamming it up for a holiday photo for Facebook, a stunning image by Hisu Lee from Unsplash of a handsome young man meditating and floating in the water. Another element at the center of the piece is an ironic curious photograph I took years ago in New Jersey. In it, a discarded newspaper with the headline “Irresistible Charm” floats in a mud puddle after a storm. Layered over these elements are a series of circular, spinning red and blue marks from one of my drawings. On top of these elements in white and ghosted in other layers is a tangle of wire that symbolizes spirits, thoughts, and other unseen forces.
This is not a perfect composition. It is not statically beautiful or finished. This piece, to me, is more about process, time, and evolution. It represents how different elements come together to form who we are at any moment. The slices/elements are sometimes contradictory in my life and my work, and the center doesn’t always hold or make sense.