David Thomann Memorial
Oil Paint and Collage on Canvas and Wood
© 1999, Jeff Thomann
I added the above youtube video to this post to help show the work in a way that is somewhat close to the setup it was originally intended to have. Unfortunately, I’ve never shown this work in a gallery or anything, so this was a quick video I took recently in 2014 before putting the work in to storage.
It’s hard to display this work for me due to the emotions involved… It’s difficult to talk about the work or think about it too much for lengthy periods of time because I begin to cry every time I think about it in too big of a segment of time. Many tears were shed during the creation of this artwork.
The installation is probably the biggest work of art that I’d ever attempted. I’ve been told that I try to put too many messages in to one painting many times, and this work is probably the epitome of that sort of thing. there was a lot going on. The work consists of 8 main panels, with the main images taking up two panels each. The panels are just stretcher bars with canvas attached, and they are connected with hinges. Each panel is approximately 3 feet wide x 6 feet tall, so the whole work, when all the panels are standing together is approximately 6 feet x 6 feet, and forms a sort of x if looked at from above. This is one of the few ‘installation’ works I ever attempted to create. I’ll try to add more images of this here in the future as I get more images uploaded to give a better idea of what it looks like from various angles.
Sorry if my rendering skills are not the greatest in the world. This work was created over the process of a semester in college, so I didn’t have an infinite amount of time to work on it. I could have reworked some of it later, but have chosen not to for a variety of reasons.
This work is a memorial installation that I created in honor of an uncle of mine that died due to leukemia several years ago. The reason, that our family believes, that he got leukemia was because he was a helicopter pilot for the United States Army, stationed in Germany, during the time that the radioactive clouds from the Chernobyl “accident” occurred. Around this time many chopper pilots, and other servicesmen in the air started getting symptoms very similar to those that he had… but, as usual the government denies that such a thing occurred.
At the time that I made this installation I was trying to cope with the fact that my little brother had just joined the airforce… and was attending basic training at the same airforce base that my Uncle David died in (It’s in San Antonio, Texas). It seemed to me to be a very bizzare and vile cycle that fate had taken to lead to such circumstances… The weekend that my parents, my sister, and I went to see Danny graduate from basic was very eerie, yet beautiful in a strange sort of way…
On the picture of the panel above, in the lower register of this image is a portrait of my father’s mother, father, brothers, and sisters. My Uncle Dave is the one circled in red. The reason for this is to make his image stand out in a way, and it also sort of implies very bluntly that he was a ‘target’.
The images in the top register are metaphoric symbols of man’s stupidity in creating violence through technology. The people in this register are rendered somewhat icon-like, as they have become mythological icons of our day for the horrors which they have created. The ‘heroes’ of this register are Truman, the Manhattan Project guys, and Hitler. They stand together triumphantly in an eeire background plotting the downfall of man. The middle register is a not-too-well rendered replica of the army identification tags that my Uncle used to wear. Each of the main images are painted copies of photos that meant a lot to me and my family. One of the small images in the top register is a copy of the final photograph my father had of my uncle’s family before he died. I remember when the photo was shot as if it was yesterday. My parents said ‘wave good by to Uncle Dave.’ Tears come to my eyes even to this day as I reflect on that phrase.
One of the ideas/themes with this work was to morph words and stories in to a message that played out like a drama for the viewer. https://jeffthomann.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/img_20140612_093150.jpg?w=949
Brothers & Sisters
Brothers and Sisters happily together at home, but who is this circled?
Uncle Dave, here’s two thumbs up pal!
This is the type of helicoptor that Uncle Dave piloted.
We will cherish you always for all that you have given.
Does E=mc squared always???
Why on earth is that the the case? Why can’t things be less scientific, less destiny driven…Why does death exist??? In the upper register, not even Albert Einstein, Mr. Zeplin, the Wright Brothers, or Henry Ford, the heroes of our time, can answer this question. Remember the Alamo!
E equals mc squared not here here sisters!!!
Our technology is made only for our destruction… Logic makes no sense to us anymore. The greatest accomplishment of man is the destruction of his own. Our walls cannot protect us from ourselves. Our true heroes will sacrafice their all for vain political purposes that our real heroes, the ones that we put in our textbooks, have created for foolish worldly greed, jealously, deceit, and lies…
Brother’s not well.
Fair And Nobyl
In the green striped areas of the painting where the words are there are some photocopied and typed out excerpts from a book that came out about a year before I created the painting which had a lot of information about how Chernobyl was not really as much of an ‘accident’ as it was made to be at the time that it happened. These texts are embeded/collaged in the painting under a layer of stand oil and linseed oil. The book these texts were taken from documents where many areas where corners were cut in regards to safety measures being taken. These were documents that were top secret and not released until shortly before the time that that book came out and became public knowledge.