Old Sketches, New Saints / by Kerri McGill

I know a woman who works every day. She ends her shift by taking her granddaughter from her daughter. So her daughter takes up where she left off...and vice-versa. She says identity theft was the best thing ever happened to her. The culprits took out a loan, paid it on time, and for the first time in her life she had good credit.

I know a man who bets on horses based on their horoscopes and the stars (the horses' horoscopes-not his.) I don't think he gets accurate birth dates as he still works at the lot.

I worked with five brothers from Brazil who couldn't get back home for their mother's funeral.

My bank tellers bring their kids to work on Saturdays.

Life is a challenge daily, here. These are the people I gauge my perspective by. During the time around Katrina, these are the people I really started to watch, mostly because we were all in the same boat.

Painting Fly Away in response to the Katrina Disaster got me looking at Medieval woodcuts. I felt like I was living in the New Dark Age. I blamed the government for a landscape of fear, war, misused religion and unchecked business. Working in the airport didn't help matters. (At the airport, there were a lot o people in my "boat".)

The cool expressions of individuals in peril, suffering for their belief repeat throughout medieval texts. (Such familiar faces like those I work with) Thick lines of the wood cut and the stain glass window create bold simplification of both the serene face of the saint and the symbol of the story. Out of context, it's anyone's guess what dangers the story holds. I like this aspect quite abit.

This group of sketches use the idea of the saint and symbol without a back story. The placid composure of the subjects make potentially alarming situations ambiguous. They are contemporary subjects, those who take on any challenge and make it through the day and keep a poised demeanor for the sake of those around them, their children, job, for their own sense of control. They are not allowed to panic.

Slowly but surely these sketches all became paintings. You'll see why I couldn't leave these guys alone.