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Deus Ex Machina


30 x 24"

acrylic on canvas

Cantrell Gallery, Little Rock, AR


Deus Ex Machina – n.  An unexpected power or event saving a seemingly hopeless situation

Having not showered in days, I find myself worn and weary. I have become nothing less than an open book, unable to separate my soul from all of the judgments. I lay; arms open to this pyromania world. Flames bathe the skin that once sheltered my ember-charred spirit. Compulsively close-minded gallery owners are behind this arson. I will struggle to succeed, subduing this inferno with an intrepid heart. Fueled by sorrow and despair, I struggle to extinguish this tormenting flame. When we set off on this journey, we were well aware of the fact that all may not accept our work. What we didn’t know was that our age would play such a prominent role in that acceptance. In Kansas City, pretentious gallery

owners patronize us. One addresses us as “you kids,” while others ask if we are working on a college project. We defend our concept in vain, as every word falls upon deaf ears. After a final retreat from this discouraging city, we begin our search in other locations. 

Alfonso’s mother is from Missouri, and she told us that her French ancestors founded a little place called Fredericktown, so we decided to make a visit. When we arrive, we notice a memorial that has the LaChance name on it, confirming the stories. There is also a street named LaChance, and the original jailhouse happens to be located on that street. We spend the rest of the day climbing Elephant Rocks and find a free place to camp at the Huzzah Conservation Area. For dinner, we build a fire and cook spaghetti. This is our first attempt at a warm, “home-cooked” meal.

St. Louis is really great. We enter into a small blue capsule, which takes us to the top of The Gateway Arch. The windows are placed so that you can see straight down, and I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone afraid of heights. I feel as if we are asking for vertigo as we look down onto the base of the arch.  Also in St. Louis, we visit the free Science Center and walk Laumeier Sculpture Park. After leaving the city, we are excited to snag lunch for under three dollars at Griff’s Hamburger Bar. They sell two burgers and two fries for $2.22!

In Springfield, we wander into a small brick building off Olive Street. The sign above the door reads Good Girl Art Gallery, and inside, pink walls are covered with unique, experimental and contemporary art. We get a first hand account of a talented underground art scene. The gallery owner is full of life and excited to learn about our project. Her enthusiasm makes us grateful that the Kentucky painting is not hanging in some stuffy room in Kansas City. While this gallery may not make it into the trendy art magazines, it certainly makes it into the memory of its visitors and isn’t that what art is about? When a fire is set upon desperate aspirations, moments of clarity arise. In experiencing such a deus ex machina, I remind myself that this project is about the adventure, good or bad, and this is what will guide us. Realizing this, I can’t help but ask myself: In order to survive this journey, must I openly welcome the flame? And in doing so, have I the resilience to recover from the burns?