VINCENT VALDEZ
VINCENT VALDEZ
The series ​Excerpts For John​ (2012) presents an unfolding sequence of a military funeral procession.
The point of view is fixed on the flag draped coffin. Uniformed pallbearers carry the casket out of the military
cemetery and silently march their way through city streets and into an American barrio. The procession carries
on until it reaches its final resting place; home.
 
 
This suite of paintings pays homage to my lifelong friend, 2nd Lt. John R. Holt Jr., (1978 - 2009) who survived a
tour of duty in Iraq as a combat medic, but lost a battle with post-traumatic stress disorder in 2009. The varied
backgrounds remain anonymous to the viewer, but depict the neighborhood that John and I grew up in.
 
The muted, dissolving, hallucinatory effects of these paintings are my attempt to translate what I experienced
on that morning of his funeral. I was numb from the freezing rain and by a feeling of emotional surrender.
 
This intentional display of the casket reverses its absence and censorship in the American press and in the
American psyche. In February of 2009, the eighteen year ban of photographing flag draped coffins returning to
the United States was overturned and, in 2013, the rate of military suicides had officially surpassed combat
deaths and is now being referred to as an epidemic.
 
Excerpts For John is a eulogy for those who can’t find their way home.
 
While creating this work in the studio, I could not help but reflect on the lyrics of Bob Dylan’s “Song To Woody”
(1962),
 
I'm out here a thousand miles from my home
Walking a road other men have gone down
I'm seeing a new world of people and things
Hear paupers and peasants and princes and kings
 
.....I wrote you a song
About a funny old world that's coming along
Seems sick and it's hungry, it's tired and it's torn
It looks like it's dying and it's hardly been born
 
....I know that you know
All the things that I'm saying and a many times more
I'm singing you the song but I can't sing enough
'Cause there's not many men that've done the things that you've done
 
Here's to Cisco and Sonny and Leadbelly too
And to all the good people that travelled with you
Here's to the hearts and the hands of the men
That come with the dust and are gone with the wind
 
I'm leaving tomorrow but I could leave today
Somewhere down the road someday
The very last thing that I'd want to do
Is to say I've been hitting some hard traveling too
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