The War Drawings

Ready to Kill in the Darkness

For me, one of the classic symbols of war is the amazing war helmet that one sees when walking into the room full of Greek archaeological finds at the Metropolitan Museum in New York City. The haunting empty eye sockets and the sculptural quality of that bronze-age artifact served as inspiration for this series. This extended meditation has many associations for me—with Homer’s Iliad, with the Brahms Requiem, and with photographs and reports of our current conflicts.

These thirty-four drawings emerged during the first Gulf War, but the drawings do not specifically refer to that conflict. The rationale for fighting wars has remained the same for thousands of years. War has become a human ritual, a mechanized way of settling disputes. It is, by its very nature, inhumane and unimaginably vicious. In this series, I have attempted to express a sequence of events—a chain of cause and effect. It is not only the soldiers who are involved in war. Here are the prophets of war and the politician conjurer. We are all involved, and so, as I worked on this series, I tried to express my feelings of responsibility and sadness. The walnut ink selected is a naturally derived product such as Rembrandt might have used to create drawings and studies for larger works. I chose it partly for the feeling of that relationship with timeless works of art.

Death Talk

Title: The War Drawings
Date: June 2005 Media: India ink, walnut ink, collage
Paper: Stonehenge (100 % cotton, acid-free, 90 lb.)
Paper size: 11″ x 15″
Image size: Irregular and variable

For questions about exhibiting The War Drawings, send a note to Jeri via the contact page.