In this war we've lost focus. We have an exit strategy but no sense of why we're there, and what in fact we can accomplish. They say it's all about Al Qaeda, but where are they? It's guerilla warfare, and our enemy is elusive. The people who suffer are just caught up in the violence. We need to fight this in a different way, by finding a peaceful resolution and changing the conditions that caused the problem. Ordinary people have gotten so frustrated that they feel they have nothing to lose.
In 1966, I got caught up in the Vietnam War. I was planning to go to Canada, but the FBI found me when someone exploded a satchel bomb on the first floor of my apartment building. I felt it was too dangerous and I would have to go. I ended up at the Psychological Research Center in California at a language school studying battle fatigue and post-traumatic stress.
Agony is from my series about war. It is a direct expression of emotion. It is not a political statement. It cannot be expressed in words, because it is just visual, and if you talk too much about it, you will lose the power and effectiveness of the piece. I would like to say to people,
"Come look! Instead of talking, look."
What I am interested to hear about is how the piece affects people who see it, and I hope I will be able to speak to some of the audience at the opening dedication of the show.
Until the age of 26, Phillip Zuchman immersed himself in philosophy (B.A. Queens College, CUNY) and writing. He was awarded the Peter Pauper Press Award for two novelettes, and had a play produced in Monterey, California, where he served as a Psychological Research Specialist in the U.S. Army. In 1968 after his military discharge, he returned to Manhattan to paint. He studied at the Art Students League in 1970 with Arthur Foster. The Salmagundi Club awarded him its Young Artist's Scholarship from 1971-1975. Zuchman has served as president of the National Forum of Professional Artists, vice president ofArtists Equity, and vice president of the Philadelphia Watercolor Society. He is Associate Professor of Studio Art and Aesthetics at the Art Institute of Philadelphia. Zuchman's paintings have been exhibited worldwide with the U.S. State Department's Art in Embassies Program of which he is a "cultural ambassador." His work may be found in many private, corporate and institutional collections.