In Case of Emergency, Break Glass is the first public presentation of an ongoing series of new artworks by artist and educator John Fields. These works utilize drawing, painting, video, printmaking, found-object sculptures, and mixed media materials to provide a darkly humorous and critical examination of our country’s current cultural crisis at the intersection of Christian Nationalism and capitalism.
In Case of Emergency, Break Glass takes its title from an exhibited artwork of the same name. This piece is comprised of a fire-engine-red, glass-fronted display case mounted on the wall, IN CASE OF EMERGENCY BREAK GLASS in vinyl lettering rests across the front, and a gold chain with a plastic red hammer dangles from the side of the box. Located within, is Fields’ childhood bible, signed and dated Christmas 1987. Obviously regarded as a precious object by the artist, the book remains locked away and inaccessible due to the impracticality of the feeble hammer with which one is expected to break the glass.
This piece becomes a metaphor for the exhibition itself, an exhibition told through the self-reflective lens of Fields’ complicated lifelong relationship with religion and his deeply personal experience growing up the grandson of a Southern Baptist preacher in rural Alabama.