In Money We Trust: Creation

Oil, acrylic, ink, and American currency on glass
14 1/2 x 11 in
October, 2018

In the course of human history, currency has shifted from precious metals to fiat (paper). This past century has seen a further shift from physical currency to systems of credit and debt. At its core, this intangible system is based all on our trust in each other. Now, money is not gold, but trust. However, trust can be manipulated. It can be made fiction. It can be distorted. Trust can be created just as it can become destroyed.

Art has told a parallel story to economy. Painting has never been without identifications of value and worth. Just as money only has value when it flows, paintings gain value when collected and resold. In many ways, art has been as much an intangible construct as economic systems.

At the beginning is creation, and at the end may not be destruction, but re-creation. As we have ventured into an era where art has become self referential, it may be appropriate to look into the past.

In ancient times, there have always been theories of creation, as well as debates regarding whether the Earth is round or flat. In modern day, it is generally accepted by science that the earth is round. However, a new theory has emerged that the universe is simply a two-dimensional hologram that we as human beings interpret as three dimension.

Therefore, I present this portraiture of Da Vinci by combining panels of glass to create a layered dimensioned anachronism from a time when art was not self-referential, but a facsimile of the world and its symbolic figures.

In pop art, works have acted almost as facsimiles by including symbols such as Andy Warhol’s silkscreens of Marilyn Monroe or Marcel Duchamp’s readymade of the Mona Lisa. These works have borrowed these symbols not only as a vehicle of expression, but as a giver of value. In many cases, the facsimile may obtain more value than the original.

Are there certain symbols in our cultural memory that automatically imbue value to their facsimiles? Does a reference to an old master accord worth into new works? Is there still value in being an original as opposed to a counterfeit?