Update from the Underworld

It has been a bit since I last posted, it isn’t that I haven’t been painting, but I have been hesitant to post the progress.

Insecurity perhaps.

I had started a new painting in anticipation of a show in LA, a show I have participated in before devoted to work on paper. Most of my recent work aside from the maquettes have been oil on canvas. The following image is something I am considering submitting. I believe I am close to finished, perhaps some enhancements here and there, but for now, finished.

Clive Hicks-Jenkins has repeatedly suggested to consider all work as a basis for another, scraps of random sketches proving a rich resource for more developed work. I believe him, most particularly when I see his own admirable sketches. Alas, my own scribbles are  often merely that, scribbles. But some do prove inspirational. The following painting was inspired by a very random “scribble-note” taken in a class devoted to Mesoamerican art and culture. That class has been the original impetus for this latest body of work devoted to the Popol huh;the admittedly  clumsy scribble  acting as a  guide for several paintings, this one in particular. 

Memories from Teotihuacan
detail from Memories of Teotihuacan

In this image we have the Hero Twins redeeming the honor of their vanquished father the Maize God. The Lord of the Underworld taunts their valiant effort, but he will indeed suffer the consequence of his hubris. The mother of the Hero twins Xquic looks on.

detail of slain Maize God

As noted this is a detail of Hun Hunahpu, the slain Maize God. In actuality the sacrificial gash would have been horizontal for those nerdy enough to care upon such Meso-minutia.

The following is the sketch that I was speaking about.

I happily spent yesterday in LA, I know I have been trapped in the boondocks a bit too long when LA seems the epicenter of urban sophistication. Such snarkiness aside, LACMA is one of my favorite museums and a really marvelous show devoted to women surrealist living in Mexico is soon to close, for more info, follow this In Wonderland link. It was a truly spectacular show, Leonora Carrington is my new idol, I knew her work essentially from one painting at the Met; having experienced so many of her paintings I am a convert to her cult.

All praise Leonora!

Another show I was eager to catch was Children of the Plumed Serpent, the Legacy of Quetzalcoatl. It was as I had hoped spectacular. It was very rich in luxury goods traded amongst different Mesoamerican people, polychromed pottery, dazzling gold work, mind boggling micro mosaics. Stunning. This funny little fellow, a censer is crafted to resemble a scribe, I figured  visitors to this site would be tickled by his pen and little shell holding pigment. He is in remarkable shape, 30 or so inches,  a handsome little bugger.

Effigy Censer, Maya, AD 1200-1500

The following is a fragment of a censer, he is so grave and  impressive.  I was very drawn to him, he will feature somewhere , somehow in a painting or drawing .

Censer Fragment, Mayan, AD 1200-1500

Although I thoroughly enjoyed my time spent in my old hometown, I am happy to be back in the studio. My little pug-dog Rose was quite peeved with my audacity-how dare I leave her in the care of her nanny? all day!  It has taken most of the day for her to “speak ” to me again, I’ve promised her I will lock myself in the studio, a slave to painting and to pugs.

Take care and have a marvelous weekend,


Author: babylonbaroque

I am a painter and printmaker working towards creating a body of work that reflects my own developing aesthetic. New work ,first link. The second link is an on-line portfolio.

11 thoughts on “Update from the Underworld”

  1. Thank you my friend , the green is typical, quetzal feathers, the blue, well i suppose you were the influence there.

  2. Thank you my friend. I’ll take Tibetan! I thought they looked more Cholo low-rider, but heck Tibetan is just as great.
    I hadn’t seen the memento mori work, certainly up my alley. Mortality is a constant theme for me (all of us I suppose). Some really lovely images, thank you for thinking of me.

  3. No need for insecurity here at all! This painting glows. It really is wonderful.
    (And that is coming from a person who is somewhat eaten up with jealousy that you made it out to that women surrealist show.)

    1. Well thank you!
      I wish you could have joined me, it was a really wondrous shows, one in which you take a spin around, depart to clear the brain, return, linger, leave, buy the catalog and return again. I am still not sure what I have witnessed. It may sound silly or naive but I relate more intimately to women surrealist than to their male counterparts. I am now more convinced that the transcendent aesthetic that I am searching for was trailblazed by many of the women in this show.

  4. Funny, my sister’s been bending my ear about Leonora Carrington for quite a while now, and when I saw her lately she thrust ‘The Ear Trumpet’ on me and insisted I read! Sometimes it takes another mention elsewhere to bring me to a fuller awareness of something or someone.

    Your vision continues to amaze. I don’t always altogether ‘get it’, Meso-American stuff has always been amongst the hardest for me to approach, but I enjoy the challenge, and the way you talk about it too.

    1. Hello, thank you for the intro, I am unfamiliar with The Ear Trumpet, is it a work of fiction? will research the matter. Your sister is correct in being enthusiastic about Carrington she is a marvel. From what I know of your own work I think you will relate to it, it is sensitive and poetic.

      As per Meso art and culture, please understand I am only just beginning to grasp it myself. It is indeed challenging, particularly when it is compounded with such a culture of brutality. I am beginning to slowly accept that the brutality and the often fierce appearence of the work came from a peculiar perspective that believed their very existence depended upon it- it wasn’t immoral , it was the cosmic order. Or so I am understanding the complexities, all very challenging. If anyone had suggested I would be interested in this culture a year ago, I would have scoffed. I generally favor high Western culture-almost exclusively- this interest is uncharted ground. My new work has ruffled the feathers of orthodox scholars, my professor in particular. I am apparently quite sacriligous in depicting figures nude, something I am aware of but I want to view this culture through the lens of the West.
      Anyway, enough blabbering, thank you for stopping by!

    1. Thank you thank you, I enjoyed painting him/them (as he is a two headed Twin); the feathers were also a bit of fun to paint. I appreciate your appreciation!
      Take care,

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