Trippin on a Hole in a Paper Heart

trippin' on a hole in a paper heart36″ x 44″, Acrylic on canvas, 2004      (Collection of the Artist)

“Trippin’ on a Hole in a Paper Heart” is the title of another painting named for a song by the “Stone Temple Pilots”. Here, Riel reproduces some of the song’s lyrics alongside ads from the personals columns of print publications to comment on what he perceives to be a sad social climate of desperation where people sell themselves – and sell themselves short – in a rush to find the perfect partner. As in many of his other works, Riel critiques the mass media for it’s part in creating and perpetuating the fear of being alone and the myth of the ideal soulmate. Juxtaposed with the ads, the song lyrics plead for the recognition of basic human dignity: “I’m not dead and I’m not for sale.” Here, The Best Man stumbles across the canvas, but in the process, turns the page. – ALLAN J. RYAN, Riel Benn’s “Best Man”: An Unlikely Successor to Iktomi’s Trickster Legacy, AMERICAN INDIAN ART MAGAZINE, SPRING 2010

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