NEW WORK

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Early fall 2021. I have been putting the finishing touches on a set of three paintings based on the “Salvator Mundi” theme (the painting shown here, on the left, is one example).  The Leonardo da Vinci version (with Christ holding a crystal globe in his left hand) is particularly well-known; of more interest to me are earlier versions, both Italian and Flemish. In the variation here, the “Christ” figure is holding a sketchbook, and there are ironic hints of Hieronymus Bosch glimpsed through the window. (It may also be relevant to know that my workflow was facilitated by a Spotify playlist based on Lake of Fire, by Meat Puppets.)

The Road to Epidaurus evokes the Stations of the Cross – in this case, Station 15, The Convalescence. Epidaurus was well-known in the ancient world as a place of spiritual healing; its specialty was Oneiromancy: pilgrims gained insight through their dreams. In this recent painting, Christ, back from near-death, has embarked on a pilgrimage of spiritual self-discovery (with the dog as a spirit guide). 

Both images shown here are recently completed oil paintings on canvas. The images on the following pages (below) are digital sketches (or rather “musings” in some cases) for up-coming paintings. (Click on the images for detail.)

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Digital Studio

The digital studio is where I work on sketches for new paintings.  These two images represent weeks of work and feel more or less complete at this point; both show a “holy” figure in a Gothic interior (with a dire/menacing landscape glimpsed through the window). As well, both represent an attempt to work through a miasma of apocalyptic imagery bequeathed by my faith-based upbringing.

On the left, attentive viewers will note that St. Alice is holding an effigy of the biblical Little Horn (Daniel 7: 8,9). The enigmatic Little Horn, is an enduring image from religious meetings I attended as a child, and its significance is subject of much speculation.  I am content to leave the final word on this to Marilyn Manson.  To the right, Jesus-with-Hookah evokes the “smoke of their torment” imagery from Revelation 14.

 

Left: Red-Black Madonna in a Winter Landscape. This is one potentially interesting image from a set of studies on the Great Whore of Babylon theme. The winter landscape is inspired by Pieter Bruegel.

Right: Voyage to the Island of the Dead. Again – this is one image from a large set; the initial inspiration was a well-known painting by Arnold Böcklin.  The process involved setting up a complex 3-d model of the scene including the island, boat, figures, etc. (For more on this process see my “Studio” page.)

 

 

Left:  Gothic Cityscape (click the image for detail).  Like the Island of the Dead series, this “goth city” set involved creating a detailed 3-d model of the city. A few of the neon signs are of particular interest since they required hours of “hand building” (with 3-d software such as Hexagon, Blender, etc).   Right: the Serpent appears in the form of an epiphany to Howdy-Doody. The association with “Shamanism” seems clear: “theriomorphic” creatures like this evade clear categorization (human? animal?); their liminal aspect enables them to navigate areas of wisdom unavailable to most humans.

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Left: I seem to have gone through a mid-summer obsession with the therianthropic Serpent-in-the-Garden theme. The therianthrope (part human-part animal) appears early in the history of art (in the caves of the Upper Paleolithic) and is typically associated with Shamanism. As a child, the Serpent-in-the-Garden was my first encounter with such creatures. As the story was told to me (based loosely on the opening chapters of Genesis), a woman, walking alone in a Primordial Garden, was enchanted by the poetry of a talking snake. In early Christian depictions of this story, the Serpent has the upper body of a seductive woman. Most of these images have more recently been relegated to my “need further consideration” file.

Right (click for detail): I will admit that I find my “Isenharp” set particularly weird. The screaming Christ on the Harp is inspired by a pilgrimage to Colmar, France, to see the Isenheim Altarpiece by Matthias Grünewald.  (The ambivalent nature of the harp also features in the work of Hieronymus Bosch.) The theme is ostensibly “Redemption through Suffering” (the Isenheim Altarpiece was originally intended for a Medieval hospital).

 

This is a recent view of the studio, with an “Owl and Pussycat” version of the Salvator Mundi on the easel. Other paintings – awaiting final touches and framing – are visible as well.

In order to categorize and “accession” my work from the past two years, I created a virtual art gallery, the Oneiros Gallery (from the Greek word for dream).

This is the entrance to the Oneiros Gallery including the list of 12 or so  featured paintings. While the gallery itself is virtual (i.e. digital 3-d) the work is real (oil on canvas), framed and sized as shown.  Details of the paintings are available in Gallery One (see menu).

Here are a few additional views of the interior of Oneiros Gallery.

 

 

Additional views of Oneiros Gallery. A workspace for artists is located on the lower level. (The object in the glass case is an Egyptian artifact on loan from a different collection.)

Below left: this is the hallway leading to the studios. The artists themselves collaborate on decisions regarding featured artwork in the studio area; in this case, a Cimabue altarpiece (late 13th century) is juxtaposed with the Francis Bacon Crucifix it inspired.

Below: two views of the studio interior. Aside from the posters, the work shown is based on current work in progress (oil paintings and digital sketches). See also Gallery Two.

Currently on the Easel

Work in progress (oil on canvas) as of December 2020.

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