DALE WILLIAMS
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"Mercy Street (4 paintings)"

Paintings completed 2000 and 2001

The following statement, from October 2000, was written for an open studio tour:

Mercy Street is an ancient thoroughfare passing through the Heart of humankind. In enlightened, compassionate times, it is clearly well-traveled, and doors are open to all who stop there. In other times - and ours' may be one, sometimes I am sure it is - the road is cracked by weeds where the potholes disappear, and all of the buildings along the way are broken and their doors boarded shut. A few people scavenge a sort of life there, awaiting the emergence of grace, decoding the secret legislation of dreams, hoping against hope for a fairer tomorrow. These paintings are a makeshift altar for those who wait (even if I know them only in my mind) built from social outrage, history, love, self-questioning, and an oblique sense of humor. Books of drawings and text accompany the paintings, amplifying and giving voice to a poetic, provisional philosophy of Mercy Street.

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"CITIZEN SHAMAN: RECONSTRUCTION YEAR 2000"
Acrylic and mixed media with collage on canvas, 88" X 106", 2000

 

"GROZNY STREET / MERCY STREET"
Acrylic and mixed media with collage on canvas, 92" X 110", 2000

 

"BUSINESS AS USUAL"
Acrylic and mixed media with collage on canvas, 96" X 126", 2001

 

"OUR SEPTEMBER"
Acrylic and mixed media with collage on canvas, 96" X 154", Sept. to Oct. 2001

"Our September" brought to an end plans for further "Mercy Street" series paintings. The following statement was written for a flyer distributed to friends and acquaintances in early October 2001, after the painting was completed:

I made this painting during the last weeks of September, 2001. It is an expression of grief over the events of the 11th, and hopefully a balm for the wounded: the blue wounded sky, the wounded psyche of city and nation, the survivors, the witnesses, the shaken. And may it serve as a resting place for the 3,000 or more voices that flock together in the air high above the southern tip of Manhattan, far off, inaudible, but always calling to us in imagination now.

When making this painting I felt that I worked on it the way the mourners of the victims made and tended the impromptu altars one saw around town in those days after the 11th in front of firehouses, police stations, or on street corners: bit added to bit, candle upon candle, poem and prayer and photograph, flowers added to flowers, one devotion added to another, an effort to make the thoughts and feelings last, to make the light one could truly live by.

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