First off, I'd like to welcome you to my site, I'm rodney vanworth, the artist. This series of work totals more than 400 drawings, and has taken over 10 years to complete.
The series began accidentally in the Spring of 2001. I have been drawing since childhood, and as I was going over some drawings i had done previously, I began to add and subtract from the drawings in front of me, and then from out of no where, came an image that reminded me of the holocaust. I continued to work on the drawing, and once completed, I began to rework another and then another and another, with holocaust images emerging on each of these new, reworked drawings. When I draw, I never think about what it is that I shall draw, I just begin, drawing rapidly, allowing my subconscious to be there on the paper. It is the way I have always drawn and from somewhere in my subconscious , the holocaust series was born.
As I contiuned this series, I began to draw faster and faster, and these reworked books of drawings began it take on a completely new apprearence. I am primarily a painter, though drawing has always been a major part of my work, and as I continued, the drawings began to take on a language, my language, where the events of the holocaust took on a new and strangely childlike quality, almost as if cartoons, but with a character that became frightening.
THE STORY The drawing that is called the first piece in the collection, is that of small kitchen table, which represents the last meal together of a young couple, that early morning just before reporting to the train station. They were told they would be going to a work camp, so the things that filled their only suitcase were things they would need, warm gloves and socks, heavy clothes for working and good strong shoes. They arrived at the train station and sat the suitcase down. When told to do so, they both boarded the train. As the train left the siding, shock and dread overtook them as they saw their only possessions sitting alone on the platform. This suitcase is in most of the drawings, which ties many of the works together. The suitcase represents the material world, and the importance placed on those things that we think we can not do without. The word, coming from the guards, was that they were all going to a work camp, but how could this be, there were those too young and those too old to work, along with the ill and enfeebled. When the series began, I drew German soldiers in helmets and uniforms, but as the work continued, and as my thoughts turned to what the people on the trains may have been thinking, the soldier imagery would change. I realized that had they actually been going to a work camp, it would have been like going for a little holiday, like taking the train to see the big circus in a town just down the tracks. It was at this point that the helmets of the soldiers began to morph into clown hats and the uniforms into circus costumes. This was the beginning of what some might consider the cartooning of the drawings, but this is inaccurate, it was the beginning of a metaphor. The work camp was no longer a place to be avoided, it would have been a place to be embraced, had the people understood their final destination. It was at this point that I realized the whole thing, every bit of what the Nazis were doing, was a grand deception. The nazis were telling the people a most logical story, that they were needed to do work, why else would they be going to a work camp. I'm sure some on the trains did not fall for the ruse, but not even the most cynical, could have ever dreamed of the coming reality, for these were Germans, the most educated and sophisticated of people. There is a saying used by card sharps who sit around a table playing for money. "If you don't know who the sucker is, the sucker is you." All the guards, and those at the train station knew what was going on, but they never told those on the train. This grand, yet simple deception could only work, if everyone kept the truth to themselves, and since there is no record I can find, of any train revolt, this simple deception worked to perfection. This deception was now a holiday trip to the circus. The Nazis had provided plenty of false clues. There were giant facades of big top tents in the distance, and lots of signs along the way, each with happy faces, the bright advertisements of the circus just over the next hill. The deception was so well played that even until the very last, when the doors of the 'shower' closed, they were still unaware. It was not water that would come from above, it was something else, and it was at this very moment, that they then knew, the circus was all a lie. rodney vanworth
THE GRAND DECEPTION the foundation, the walls and the roof constructed for the final solution was THE GRAND DECEPTION THE GRAND DECEPTION
What follows is a KEY to the language of the drawings. It is far from a complete list, so please check back often.
If, during your viewing of the drawings, you wish to have an explaination of an image, please send me the url of the image, and, if need be, ill add the explanation to your inquiry in the list below, as well as sending you an email response. Your inquiry could add greatly to the understanding of the collection, and I thank you in advance.