While the drawings and imagery seem child-like,
the installation and design of artist Chris Dacre's exhibit,
"Oh, Yeah!" at the Gallery of the Herron School of Art
is sophisticated and dramatic.
To me, it is less about war than it is about,
as the artist states in his remarks about this work,
how our society, particularly men,
are conditioned by the near-continuous
onslaught of movies, video games, books,
and advertising glorifying war,
inuring us to its murderous reality.
The drawings have a perspective that seems
like those of a child's version of planes.
The kites are printed with profiles of bombers
and fighters, sweeping across the sky.
There's a campground of small tents, backed
by battleground videos. At the other end of
the gallery, a boy's bedroom is shown, his little jammies,
printed with angry-faced men brandishing bayonets,
lie on bed sheets printed with images of HumVees.
The nightmare is coming through the boy's wall,
a tank ready to run through and over
everything and everyone. At the window, fatigue-clad
"soldiers" have cartoon animal heads, but are
carrying weapons. They are strung like marionettes
so that, no matter who you decide the enemy might be,
you know that both sides are being controlled by
outside interests that have nothing to do
with religion, moral or ethical concepts, or even politics -
just by the desire by someone to have absolute
control over every one and every coin ever minted.
Like the artist, I am not so naive to believe that war
will ever be abolished. People will never just
kiss and make up to live in a Utopia of candy and kindness.
However, we do need to be able to discern between
a war that's being run for the benefit of arms dealers
and manufacturers, and religious nuts proselytzing their
particular brand of hatred and bigotry.
Yep, I am a confirmed gatherer of nut and berries,
but there surely has to be a better way
for our men to confirm their masculinity than
by shooting some poor fuck who's been
turned into a convenient caricature of evil.