“Our aim has not been to assign individual blame”

2009 – 2010, acrylic and paper on canvas, 2 panels, 130 x 260 cm total (51 x 102 inches total)

September 11, 2001 was not the beginning and, as we are ten years out, it is also not the end. It did though mark a very loud wake-up call to what some of us knew then and all of us know now as a global crisis in faith, cultures, and trust. We woke up one day and a lot of innocent people died and America’s iconic towers disappeared, but this was not, as a lot of people still do not comprehend, the work of one man in a specific space of time. This calamity has been unfolding over years and years with many players directly and indirectly involved.

When I opened up the book The 9/11 Commission Report and started reading, I was struck as to how much this read like a fictional novel. But what really resonated with me came in the preface. The sentence reads, “Our aim has not been to assign individual blame.” And this is a correct starting point because there really is not just one individual to be blamed for what was experienced on September 11th, and what we continue to experience today. The United States, among other nations, have had their hands mixing up the global dynamic to meet their current needs for a very long time. Allegiances pledged and won at one point have invariably been severed and swapped as foes. Those one-time allies are now using the support against them on the battle field. So, who is really to blame for the attacks on September 11th?

The piece Our aim has not been to assign individual blame (2009-2010) is about the ambiguity of our enemy and those involved either directly, indirectly or superficially, with September 11th. By taking all the names of the people mentioned in the Commission Report out of their original context, it blurs the relationship that person had in reference with this tragedy, either distorting or leveling the weight of their importance. But that blurring becomes less fuzzy when now looked at as a whole, on the canvas, due to the frequency of repetition of certain ‘players.’ Also, the randomness of the names now placed on the canvas provide interesting relationships and juxtapositions further blurring context and collusion.

© andrew m. wenrick,  2009 – 2010

Somerville 11-37

2010, maps, paper, matte board, 50 x 65 cm (19.625 x 25.5 inches), Private collection, Boston, usa

These 48 squares represent the 48 continental United States. They are laid out in alphabetical order except for the 11 states (squares) that have a town named Somerville. Those 11 squares are roughly placed geographically according to the map of the USA. So the 11 squares are exposed, with the town Somerville in the center of the cutouts while the other 37 squares have a portion of the map of that state behind a floating white square with a reveal around the edges for a glimpse behind. The cut Somerville squares differ in contour steepness according to the density and size of the cities compared against each other.

© andrew m. wenrick,  2010