November 2013 / A Dream Deferred

Ben Alexy

“I didn’t know why I wanted to paint helicopters. It just felt right at the time. The more I painted them the more I began to understand what a fine line they walk between weakness and strength, fragility and durability. Helicopters are representative of power, dominance, mechanization. But it takes so little to send them spinning out of control. They are so much more delicate than we want to believe. They can be so easily compromised.

Unknown to me at the time, I was drawing a parallel between them and human life. I was in the process of losing a close friend of mine who was so full of life and vitality. It radiated off of him. And I felt like I was literally watching him come apart at the seams. I suppose I like the image of the helicopter because it’s symbolic of this dance we do between the fragility of human life and the endurance of the human spirit. I like to think that by painting them the way I have, by spending close to two years working with them, I have given these machines some of the sacredness we adorn human life with.

Human life is fascinating in that it’s not an end in and of itself. We need hopes and dreams and goals to fill it up with. These are the things that keep us on the shelf. My friend dreamed wildly till the every end. I admire this very much and I believe whole heartedly that it’s what kept him with us for so long in spite of his physical health. But there were many things that he never accomplished that I know troubled him heavily. And as I watched him in the hurried twilight of his life I couldn’t help but think of all the things left undone, all this potential unfulfilled. Those days I found myself reciting a Langston Hughes poem ( from which this show gets its name), and although the poem is mournful I found something like resilience in it, something of fortitude and of zeal.

My hope is that this body of work speaks of these things in a way that words alone can’t.

Thank you.”

-Ben Alexy