Yes, each of these paintings is on a VHS tape and includes obsolete media like magazines and comic books.
We have all seen technology and media change in our lifetime. From the record to the cassette tape to the CD, or from film reels to VHS to DVD to Blu-ray, media changes and with the change comes the obsolescence of by-gone formats.
Considering the mood and anxiety of so many people on earth today there are many cultures who feel forgotten, left-behind, caught in the change, in other words: obsolete. The struggle for equal rights of LGBTQ persons, people of color, women, native populations and immigrants could be said to come from the reality that some people are treated as an obsolete or invalid form. The same is true for movements like Antifa or Neo-Nazism or the KKK – they are motivated by an extreme fear that governments, policies, or social order will leave them behind in the change and render them obsolete.
These paintings are a comment on the human form as a media for the divine. In Christianity, the Incarnate Christ is the example of the human being as media with which and through which the divine appears in the world. In Genesis, the human is celebrated as the imago dei, the image of the deity.
Thus, there is a tension that exists between the narrative which devalues the human form and the theology which raises it to the media of the divine. Utilizing forms of obsolete media (VHS, magazines, comic books) the human form is displayed in these paintings as the media which will never be obsolete – even in the presence of the arbitrary color which humans take in the face of oppression, racism, power structures and divisions. Even in the alienation one feels when divided from their own people or context, the human form is never obsolete.
The halo then becomes the linking presence in each painting which joins all human forms no matter the context or color. As intercultural theologian Emmanuel Lartey states, the human being is simultaneously “Like All Others, Like Some Others and Like No Other.” (In Living Color, pg. 34). My hope with these paintings is that when the viewer experiences the human form, they can see how a person is always contextually framed by these three principles: Like All Others as a child of God and divine media, Like Some Others as contextualized by their communities and Like No Other in their own unique human form. Just like a book, a film or a song is also Like All Others (sound, light), Like Some Others (genre, format), and Like No Others (unique in story or detail), so also is the human body.