A Girl and A Gun. A Trade Show.

This body of oil paintings and drawings by Steve Derrickson aligns the painted nicknames of military weaponry with renderings of pin-up girls, addressing, though obliquely, aspects of war and sex. The ‘Girls’ appear to be presenting these ‘Words’ as though at a trade show, escorting them if you will, through a garish spectacle where the arms traffic collides in a dead pan mash-up with the arousal industry. The chummy veneer of these nicknames camouflages the lethal, and lucrative, reality behind these representations. The word as image, an old chestnut in late and post modernism, belies certain nostalgia for the 20th century, for the frisson of juxtaposition. That sex sells has been a fact of marketing since the birth of mass communication and is bluntly acknowledged here, as is the pin-up girl’s history as muse for the soldier far from home, as talisman, as the signifier of ‘what-we-are-fighting-for’. This work evokes a hothouse market of sex, patriotism and militarism, in a provocative collusion at once banal and slightly sinister. These pictures, in vivid sarcastic hues, allude to a milieu where there are bullet holes in the white picket fence, a stripper asleep on the family couch, automatic weapons, wet tee-shirts, money strewn about, the detritus of an ‘empire of the senseless’ on which the sun is rapidly setting