David Lenz

Region: Midwest

My paintings have always been about people. First it was the children of the central city of Milwaukee, then two dairy farmers from south-central Wisconsin, and now -inspired by my son, Sam- I have began a series of paintings about people with disabilities. The unsung and under-valued people of society are the subjects of my paintings.

Despite the huge gains made in the area of civil rights in the last forty years, people with disabilities are still today routinely marginalized and ridiculed. As a group, they have been overlooked as the important members of society they most surely are. Perfection is highly valued, and people with disabilities are decidedly imperfect.

In America whole industries have flourished helping homeowners to create the perfect lawn. Load after load of chemicals are spread in an effort to get rid of every weed, clover, and dandelion. Models and supermodels on television are tall, impossibly fit, their clothes are stylish and wrinkle free. Images like this tend to change our perceptions, our ideals, until finally they leave us looking around at the peeling paint on our own houses, our less than fit bodies, and it leaves us wanting.

Perfection, I would submit, is overrated. And besides, I like dandelions.

In my paintings Sam assumes the role of presenter, host, even tutor, of this most revealing examination of the civilization mankind has created. Sam doesn't fit society's conventional definition of perfection. In spite of that, or perhaps because of that, he really does have an important message for everyone to hear.