The Black Coat Project began a s a simple notion that was produced by a sensory reaction. A number of black coats were acquired as costume piec… Read More
The Black Coat Project began a s a simple notion that was produced by a sensory reaction. A number of black coats were acquired as costume pieces for the final chapter of The Journey Project, entitled, The Gate’s Of Heaven. One coat stood out from the rest in its pure luxury and sensual quality. I pondered the idea of whether or not a complete project might be ignited by this one single article of clothing.
By choice I made everything as simple as I possibly could, eliminating everything but the coat a woman and a pair of shoes. The coat and shoes became a uniform. From painting to painting they remained constant and unchanging amplifying the unique beauty of each woman. The women are not idealized clones. Their beauty is represented as it exists in real life. It’s is the individuality of each woman and how she responded to the coat that is represented.
As a narrative artist my fist challenge was to completely eliminate the narrative element from this new body of work. Without my interference the experience of bringing together woman and artifact would reveal it’s purpose and support it’s artistic merit. To create beautiful images is in itself a sufficient motive for making art. There are, as I have proven constantly over my career, many other levels that can be interwoven into a painting or series of paintings that enrich it’s value. The beauty is not optional but is a necessary constant as is truth and sincerity and passion.
In the past I have conceived and constructed my projects as vehicles to support socially relevant narratives. Many of which have dealt with difficult and disturbing material. In the case of The Black Coat Project I have challenged my own methods of creating a theatre in which to support the idea by allowing the object itself to suggest it’s purpose. The fist year of The Black Coat Project has been dedicated to following it’s inspiration and overcoming the logistical obstacles in it’s translation from idea to physical form. During this time, bit by bit the tiny pieces of a much bigger picture were presenting themselves to me.
Over my my more than 25 year career working with countless women I have developed wonderful friendships with many of them. During that time I have learned more than I expected and wished to about the physical and psychological abuse of women. This was not a feature of The Black Coat Project when I first started though I cannot say that it did not lurk deep in my subconscious.
In working with the women who now represent the first phase of the Black Coat Project I spent many hours with them. Not outlining my grand artistic vision and what function they would supply to it because they had no function. The were the entire point. Instead I asked and listened and observed to best understand who each of them were as individuals. This crystalized the potential of the Black Coat. What is represented in the first 15 paintings is a disturbing proportion of these women that are or have been victims of abuse.
It is from this that the Black Coat Project takes it’s purpose. Not as a Narrative vehicle but a symbol of this specific social crime that is committed against millions of women every minute of every day. The ambition of The Black Coat is to first be art. An Exploration and a celebration of female beauty. In conjunction with women’s groups and organizations It can also provide a tangible means of providing awareness of this social injustice and financial support to those working on the front lines.