Each viewer brings to a painting their own sets of ideas. If they see what is not expressly put there by the artist, is the artist responsible for the viewers' reactions? The intent of an artist is a difficult thing to judge and is rarely divined correctly.
This is why a project report explaining the intentions of the artist accompanies the project (the actual pieces of artwork) for a master of fine arts degree.My project report was received with much support and was unanimously approved by the MFA orals committee. There should have been no controversy over the intent of my work since I had made this clear in the report.
My images are neither erotic nor violent. My work does not propose "obscenity, profanity, pornography, homosexuality or irreverence to deity." If someone finds it there, then it is what they themselves have brought to the images.
My work is about frailty, fear, vulnerability and survival. About isolation and loneliness. About sacrifice and reconciliation between male and female - both as male/female existing in each human and as male/female entities.
The body is a container capable of holding all the parts - good and evil, strong and weak, male and female, anger and acceptance. Painting helps me to balance the polarities. I could only hope that others might make enough room when viewing my work to see what I am trying to say.
The "editing" of my work on the day of the show has been a disappointing experience. Things have been misquoted in newspaper articles and on the radio. Many allegations have been made, including that I am actively protesting the censoring of my show and that I have distributed materials stating my case.
But perhaps the most disturbing part of this experience has been that people, some of whom have expressed opinions about the paintings, have not actually seen the censored work and are therefore unable to evaluate the paintings and make an informed opinion.