2007 Termination Flags

Text by Dana Velan

There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in. – Leonard Cohen

My artwork is shaped by many influences that come directly from my life experiences and background: folk tales, political upheaval, family suicide and rebirth. These are strong and complex issues and they became the subject of my art. My work doesn’t move in a linear way. I work in themes and they overlap and interconnect through the use of scale, color, and an iconography of natural phenomena. For example, fire, water and earth serve as metaphors for an inner landscape. I explore issues of memory, loss, identity, vulnerability, belonging and transformation.

I keep returning to complex memories of my past experiences and new experiences re-enliven those old emotions, as in my new series of drawings, titled Termination Flags. As someone who grew up under communist regime and escaped to the West, my ability to move freely in the world is one of the most cherished values. Because of some confusion as to my student status when I was studying at the US University, the word “termination” appeared on my file at the border crossing. No explanation accompanied the termination flag.

These new drawings are executed on paper, an opaque material, with oil sticks and mixed media. I am building up layers of marks that suggest impermeability, restriction. The flags are red and they are collaged onto the drawings. They carry the numbers corresponding to my terminated visas and some of them have my fingerprints. My specific experiences with these termination drawings have begun to transform into other issues of rejection, expulsion, exile, loss and identity.