48" x 90"
acrylic on canvas
Private Collection, Houston, Texas
Bering & James, Houston, Texas, Cinco, August 16 - 30, 2008

I started this work in a slightly different manner than most of my paintings. For Joyride I decided to start with the idea and dive right into the canvas. Usually there is a preparatory period to iron out ideas and mock up images to see how everything will work. Not with this one. For that reason, the composition is not as balanced as many of my works tend to be.

The theme behind Joyride is time travel.

The central motif at the bottom of the canvas is a large Aztec calendar. It's a pretty literal symbol to represent time.  Merging with it are the frames of a View Master slide card.  I start to show my age here as many of my younger viewers will have no idea what this is, so let me tell you. The really awesome thing about a View Master was that it functioned as a simplified Stereoscope. You looked through it and the images were three dimensional! Like you were really there! So, three dimensions overlaying the fourth dimension of time (the calendar) and you have all four dimensions in motion in the form of a great wheel.

What better place to find a wheel than underneath a vehicle? The Chevrolet at the top represents several things... First, the obvious era of the car from which it came, the nostalgia we feel for the past. A technological advancement that as time moves forward becomes more and more obsolete (like View Masters and Stereoscopes). Beyond the obvious reference to the past, it represents a form of linear motion. Point A to Point B. Straight line movement. So our vehicle has been saddled with a much more powerful wheel to get us where we need to be!

On the left side of the canvas is a dynamic image of a young woman. She conveys youth, excitement and is very firmly grounded in our now. The young of this world are usually most concerned with the immediate, so she represents the here and now, which although it seems to be static is actual in constant flux and motion as well.

To the right is a geisha. The geisha represents the exact opposite. The role, form and function of a geisha has not evolved at all in the past 400 years. She is a figure living within her own time, or removed from that time stream.

The frames of the View Master are filled with symbols from the Chinese system of divination called the I-Ching. This is a system for telling the future. By peeking through the frames of the View Master here, you can symbolically see tomorrow.

So... four dimensions... past, present, future, and time at a standstill. In the center of it all, the word "Joyride" emblazoned on the license plate of our vehicle. All this movement around, and yet the time travel I weave my tale around has nothing to do with visiting dinosaurs or the future race of mankind. It is the movement of time around us. We move through time every second of the day.

The words of this explanation as you read them slip from future to present, to your history in the blink of an eye. That's the Joyride. The ride we're on right now.