The Assassination of Judy Garland

A Metaphorical Portrait of America  2008-2013




"Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore". - Noel Langley, spoken by Judy Garland, The Wizard of Oz, 1939

The Assassination of Judy Garland - A Metaphorical Portrait of America - is a personal reflection on the post 9/11 era, this time focusing on American political mythologies. It continues the story from my 2006 exhibition Sedition and Other Bedtime Stories.  I used the life of actor/singer Judy Garland (1922-69) - the narrative arc of her life - as a metaphor for what is happening in American political culture.
I then drew analogies with French medieval epic poetry - the chansons de geste - as a metaphor for the American political narrative's propagandist elements which are not unlike the Middle Ages when chansons de geste described the Christian/Islamic conflict of the Crusades. This time I wove these elements together using a queer lens by adapting iconic Hollywood and Broadway musicals. Aesthetically I also mixed up folk art with pulp airport paperback coverd of the 50s and 60s. It was a way to explore qualities I admire and those that I fear in one lens. Another theme I wanted to explore in the exhibition was how we have changed the way we contextualise images from the internet, especially when they are used in international conflicts.
Images from this series were presented at the Hitting The Target workshop at The University of Surrey in 2012 to support reflection on new technologies and capabilities for intervention. The progressive American Jewish Tikkun Magazine's online edition published a revealing interview about my paintings in A Star Is Born: Metaphorical Portraits of America in 2011. In Dec 2012 five paintings were selected for the collaborative book 2012 London International Creative Competition (LICC). In April 2013 the Queer Psychoanalytical Society published my thoughts on thesen paintings for their publication The Qouch.  My 5th solo exhibition of these paintings was held in Perth,Western Australia in August 2013.  More information is available in the In Print section.
download gallery text as pdf

Read my interview on this series in Tikkun Daily (art feature+interview) Berkeley, CA, USA

A Star is Born: Metaphorical Portraits of America  by: Laura Beckman on July 18th, 2011

RTRFM Radio Interview August 2013