Last evening I finished a new painting, Genesis. As is so often the case my inspiration was the Popol Vuh, the sacrifice and resurrection of the Maize God , the Hero Twins, and the narrative of the Creation of Man.
An added inspiration was AIDS, I am of that generation where many of my friends and loved ones from my youth are now long since dead. Not too long ago Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart was on television. My visceral reaction was of a resurrected fear, long suppressed, reborn at the sight of so many Spotted Men. Those past days of Act Up meetings in NYC and Philadelphia; those handsome men speckled with death and anxiety; demonstrations on the street, at St. Patricks…; anxiety and selfish terror, would I be next?; and yet the excitement of activism, these were all faded memories in my now relatively carefree life. Until that film.
I was confronted once again with that incessant gnawing deep within, a true existential crisis. So in a simple way, my Hero Twin Hunahpu, who is traditionally depicted spotted, as he too encountered Death, represents all those struck down. Somehow I missed the scythe, I bear witness like Xbalanque, Hunahpu’s brother in arms.
oil on canvas
30 by 40 inches
My Spotted Hunahpu
The inspiration for this painting is also from a previous painting, Primavera a relatively small water color. My friend, the incredible artist, Judithe Hernandez suggested I rework Primavera either in grissaile or as a larger composition. When in doubt I always choose larger. The original version:
watercolor on paper
In this painting there is a nicely perverse little subterranean flowering plant, symbolic of life in hostile situations; today my lovely little Stapelia-Carrion flower offered up a gorgeous maggot filled blossom. A Boschian treat if ever there was one.
This morning’s Carrion blossom, more on the way.
Tomorrow I return “home’, Philadlephia, to visit family of the flesh and those of brick, and paint and marble. Philadelphia is so architecturally rich: Furness, Richardson, Queen Anne, 18th c; plus the museums, I will be in heaven. I think I will print out this “prayer card” of the Maize God , Hun Hanahpu to keep me safe.
Be well, Lg