The title of this series came about after George Bush invaded Iraq and when asked about America’s justification for war said, “We are Spreading Democracy.” I knew they weren’t there to spread democracy. It was to spread Capitalism. I did several paintings in reaction to the invasions because I was angry at the deceit.
While the series is called ‘Spreading Democracy’, it could also be entitled ‘The Million-Year War’. Slavery and all of the other actions that occurred with man’s inhumanity through the centuries, I felt needed a symbol. I came to a character or figure that symbolized oppression and war to me. Ancient Rome reminded me of the American moral quagmire. I anthropomorphized war. I could see the cycle starting to build again for some kind of capitalism and war, preparing the military.
The beasts in the paintings symbolize the dogs of war that are always present in the chaos. They have no master and they run wild in the streets. There's always going to be war. It is with us like poverty is always with us. A passage from the Bible which actually gave too many people the right to keep the poor down and beneath them and ends hope. There will be more war paintings. There's always going to be war. It is with us like poverty is always with us.
There are a lot of ancient religious texts that were written to keep the poor downtrodden. Slaves were told to obey their masters and accept their fate. It's an issue I have with religion. Those passages kept a lot of men and women in chains for a longer time than needed.