Work in Progress

I am currently finishing and framing a set of  “Icon” paintings while at the same time starting work on a new series.  The focus of new work is the Great Whore of Babylon. This began as a request for a cover for a religious publication (Spectrum) – for an up-coming issue with a feature on Revelation 17. The work on the cover subesquently led in a variety of directions, including sketches for paintings/digital prints and a set of gifs/short video clips.

Below: a digital sketch for the Spectrum magazine cover, this is also work in progress for a medium-sized oil painting. (Tap for detail.)

The figures in this set might be thought of as a sort of Black Madonna - i.e. a "lost" quadrant of the pantheon with a decidedly Dionysian aspect. For the magazine cover she is seated in front of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (based on a painting by Lucas Cranach).

This theme – i.e. the Black Madonna – has gone through a number of iterations (as I continue to work with it). Attentive viewers will be aware of the tradition of the Black Madonnas; as mentioned above, the “blackness” seems to signify her association with the Dionysian side of creation.  In this respect she has a clear relationship with Isis, Persephone, Nut (Egyptian goddess of the night), Ishtar etc. (I am inclined to see also consider “Alice” as one of the Goddesses of the Underworld.)

In the earliest versions the "Madonna" was more of an "Alice" figure (which explains the hookah). The chalice with serpents associates her traditionally with the Book of the Apocalypse; the blackness resulted from an accidental experiment with photo filters.

Currently on the Easel

As work on the Great Whore of Babylon and other projects continues in my digital studio, I also continue to work on several paintings (oil/acrylic on canvas). The one on the right is perhaps 2/3 finished; it is based in part on a painting by Crivelli (Italian painter from the 1400s); the one on the left is in its earliest stages.

z Feb