Utah Beach, 2005
Snow, 2005
Bayeux, 2007
Avranches, 2005
Utah Beach (Pink), 2004
Sword Beach, 2005
utah_beach.jpg
Utah Beach (Large), 2007
Utah Beach (Night), 2005
Arromanches, 2007
Fire, 2008
T34 (Bayeux), 2005
Untitled, 2003
Untitled, 2003
Untitled, 2003
Untitled, 2003
Untitled, 2003
Untitled, 2003
Untitled, 2003
Sherman Firefly, 2004
Sherman M4A3, 2004
Points Of Entry I, 2005
Points Of Entry II, 2005
Points of Entry IV, 2005
Model Top II, 2005
Model Top, 2005
Surplus Tank, 2005
Propane Tank, 2005
Corrugated Tank, 2005
Sherman M4A2, 2005
Breathing Tank, 2005
Breathing Tank, 2005
Breathing Tank, 2005
Hell On Wheels

2005 — The earliest works in this series are watercolors done on location while teaching in Normandy, France where decommissioned Sherman Tanks are ubiquitous. They can be found in front of memorials and museums and in the town squares of small towns throughout the region. The body of work grew from simple sketches of local color to be a comprehensive  investigation of the tank as an object, symbol and metaphor. As my interest grew, I found the tank to be ripe with associations. Though outwardly menacing and powerful, the Sherman Tank proved to be inadequate in firepower and armor compared to its German counterparts. For those that occupied the tanks in battle it could become a deathtrap. This dichotomy, the contradiction between image and reality, power and impotence, is a thread that runs through all the work in this series. Hell On Wheels includes drawings, paintings, sculpture and animation. Each medium allows me to explore the subject from a different point of view. The drawings and paintings move between portraiture to dense diagrammatical explorations, although neither extreme seems to reveal an accurate picture.  They each expose but a single, fleeting aspect of the Sherman tank: its physicality and potential, its history and its presence. My sculptures tend to be more ironic using the materials as part of the message.  An example of this would be Surplus Tank, which is an Oldenburg-like soft sculptural tank constructed of surplus army duffel bags. Limp and splayed, Surplus Tank is pathetic. However, the duffel bags enhance the meaning, because of their direct connection to armed service. They were still caked with dirt and tagged with the former owner’s name and outfit when I purchased them from an Army Surplus store. The limp form that at first glance may be seen as humorous can be understood as fatigued, frightened or, worse, dead. At The University of Arizona Museum of Art the work was featured in Corrspondence: In Relation To Goya where it was displayed adjacent to Goya’s Los Desastres de la Guerra suite of prints.

 

VIEW ANIMATION

© Joseph Peragine