exhibition slideshow
Please God, Make Me Not Queer:
Modern Prayers Painted on Aluminum

David Lancaster

Oil on studded aluminum paintings and sculpture

On View
June 27 - August 15, 2009

Saturday, June 27, 2009
7:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m.

"Give me chastity... but not yet." St. Augustine (354-430), Bishop of Hippo and one of the major figures of early Christianity, uttered this famous prayer in his struggle to gain mastery over his earthly desires. In the spirit of brazen honesty with which Augustine addressed his deity, David Lancaster proposes a collection of modern prayers, painted in oil on aluminum, designed to explore and question the nature of communication with the divine. Sad, bold, frank and funny, the prayers challenge our collective notions of supplication and gratitude--what we should ask of an omnipotent God and for what we should give thanks--and the very idea that prayer is a catalyst for divine action. Ten of Lancaster's studded aluminum paintings and sculpture will be on view in PHD's Portfolio Gallery June 27 through August 15, 2009 with an opening reception for the artist on Saturday, June 27 at 7:00 pm.

The text of each prayer, rendered without vowels or word breaks (in the manner of early biblical manuscripts), surrounds the nude supplicant, painted in oil on aluminum, the whole nailed to a plywood substrate with brass escutcheon pins, reminiscent of Christian icon paintings and stained glass windows.

On one level, a sense of voyeurism hovers about these objects as we eavesdrop on the deepest yearnings of people who shed their clothes as they bare their souls. Their prayers reveal a twisted sense of duty, a heartbreaking confession, a paralyzing fear. On another level, these mangled expressions of lamentable longing and solipsistic gratitude point circuitously to the very good news that God, with his attendant eternal punishment for disbelief in unlikely propositions, probably does not exist, thereby putting the responsibility for meaning-making back on our shoulders. Perhaps, instead of giving thanks for things we have but others don't, Lancaster's work suggests that we might be the agents of change to see that they do. Instead of seeking favors from an almighty being who may or may not exist, may or may not be listening, may or may not care, we might do well to reclaim control over our lives and be the answers to our own prayers--be the change we seek. Lancaster attended the Washington University School of Fine Art, in St. Louis, Missouri and has exhibited throughout St. Louis and Chicago.

Works on view to include:

Please God...

... Tell me who you want me to kill.
... Do not let me worry in vain.
... Show me a better way to tell people how stupid they are.
... Help me love my child as much as I love my dog.
... Make me not queer.

Thank You God...

... For that super-duper orgasm.
... For crushing the competition.
... For my radio voice.
... For my larger-than-average penis.
... For disease-free prostitutes.

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