My American Dream: Mystery Train
Iconscape (for Heather D. Heyer), 2017 oil on panel 48 × 36 in. | 121.9 × 91.4 cm
Iconscape (for Heather D. Heyer), 2017
oil on panel 48 × 36 in. | 121.9 × 91.4 cm

My best friend Dan Knapp, who recently died in an automobile accident, and to whom this show is dedicated to, loved trains, and even more than this, seeing wind turbine blades being carried on trains! When we drove across country as he helped me move all my belongings in a large moving van, he was steering but saw this image and urged me to “quick, take a picture!”. This image was the result. This was the last painting I created for the show, every painting of which helped me mourn the loss of my friend, most especially this work, which was pure pleasure to paint. I love Turner, and his classic “Rain, Steam and Speed–Great Western Railway” painting from 1844, his perhaps optimistic, with a hare running along the side of the image, perhaps to bring up nature competing winningly with man and technology–or perhaps, if its chasing the hair, the threat of nature being overwhelmed by humankind’s hubris. I would like to think that this work helps to end the show on an optimistic note, with the promise of natural energy winning over coal and worse, with the feeling of progress, despite our current troubles, where good overwhelms all…. I also feel that, post painting, the blades feel like iconic bones, and there is something funereal about the proceedings, the blades being like the coffin of my friend, but hopefully like the end of a New Orleans Jazz funeral, the feeling of nature in the work being like “When the Saint Go Marching In” playing in the blades of grass and sky.