I learned it first from my Brother. He didn't teach me; I watched it. They will pin a word on your chest and use it against you. They will create a word that's excuse to take your humanity away. I saw it happen to him.
And everyday, this: A word to make you serve, and one to make you grateful for it. There is a label out there just for you. This will make you easier to categorize, and sell to. There is a word for the man next to you who makes you comfortable with the fact that you have so much more than he does. There is a word for you that tells you what to settle for.
There are the voiceless, who cannot speak for themselves. These are the easiest ones to shrink down. There are words for the non-conformers, simple words that can be quickly acknowledged by those who buy in. Crazy. Faggot. Gang. Rich. One is sinful, one is lazy, one is violent by nature and one is always, always good enough. It's such a precious thing that no one wants you to have it. You can't be trusted with it. It's such a delicate thing that it turns to something different in different hands. They might bury it, but you can dig it up. You are strong enough for the Truth.
From my hands, my mission: To free the oppressed; to champion the persecuted, and the submissive; to liberate through revelation the actualized Self in those proposed by some to have no self at all. It's in every single one of us, somewhere underneath that word on our chest.
In my hands, my version: All art is political in some sense, be it through conformity, reflection, propaganda or rebellion. My paintings are rallies and trials, photographs of a moment when Truth was made public, and Mercy known. Question why a villain is villainized, a victim martyred. Ask why a group is demonized, and the motives for control. See for yourself what the Truth looks like in your hands. Dig it up and hold it for awhile. This work you see, it's my Truth. But please don't take my word for it.
Chris Mars lives and works in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Selected Recent Exhibitions: 2010 – Milagros Small Work Invitational, Sacred Machine Museum, Tucson, Arizona; solo exhibition, Erie Art Museum, Erie, Pennsylvania; solo exhibition, Mesa Contemporary Arts, Mesa, Arizona; solo exhibition, The Phipps Center for the Arts, Hudson, Wisconsin; group exhibition, Grand Central Art Center, Santa Ana, California. 2009 – solo exhibition, Longview Museum of Fine Arts, Longview, Texas; solo exhibition, Billy Shire Fine Arts, Los Angeles, California.
Flushing the Celebration of Ignorance
2009, oil on panel, 24"×30"
Pursuing the Development of the Artificial Soul
2008, oil on panel, 15"×16.5"
Neglect of the Maimed
To Vanquish Dogma
2008, oil on panel, 20"×24"