Genesis

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.

Greco_Genesis

Genesis

2014

oil on canvas

30 by 40 inches

My Spotted Hunahpu

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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:

Greco_Primavera-watercolor copy

Primavera

2014

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.

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This morning’s Carrion  blossom, more on the way.

IMG_5478 2 My imagined Carrion Flower.

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.

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Be well, Lg

Two New Prints Off the Press (& a mask)

Last evening after a harrowing day dealing with family drama I was able to relax with friends , have a glass of wine and make a few prints courtesy of Deborah’s lovely  and efficient little press.

A balm to my stressed soul , gratitude  to Deborah, Melanie, Kara and Kenneth for camaraderie and inspiration.  The following  two prints are the result of such fine company:

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Agnus Dei-the Meso Version

2014 (plate carved ion the feast day of St.John the Baptist)

8.5 by 11 inches

relief print on paper

IMG_5161

Agnus Dei

2014

9 by 12 inches

relief print on paper

I’m thrilled to be back at the press and in the company of other artists exploring ink on paper.

I’m closing with another mask, I’m working towards 100 masks, a play upon Joseph Campbell’s Hero with a Thousand Faces; one hundred Heroes is enough for me!

Be well, Lg

IMG_5138

#5

2014

acrylic paint on papier mâche form

Life, Death and if not Resurrection, Redemption.

In my work I turn repeatedly to issues of mortality, sacrifice, redemption and self knowledge (gnosis). 

It probably isn’t much of a surprise that Good Friday is my favorite day of the Church calendar ; I have strayed (or She has) from the traditions of my youth, but the Passion reading never fails to  move me deeply. My belief in a god, or not, is wavering but the narrative of this day, of this man during his final hours has influenced my work profoundly. Whether he was divine or not, an issue that caused great discord between the Church Fathers and the “heretical ” gnostics is of little concern to me. In fact, appealing to my humanist inclinations, it is the mortal man, willingly offering up such a terrible gift that astounds me. I have countless images of the Ecce Homo, the Crucifixion, the Deposition,  religious postcards, 19th c. chromolithographs, icons, statuary, every museum visit I head straight to the medieval wing, I never tire of the depictions of this suffering wretch. My heart bleeds for him each time ,the pathos so intense. His mother, she too breaks my heart, to have such a selfless ally is incomprehensible . These archetypes will continue to fuel my work, as they are now befriended by their “pagan” siblings, the Maize God most notably.

The following is just a sampling of my online “scrapbook” devoted to Christ and the BVM.

botticelli:cristo risorto:1480:detroit copy

tumblr_n3ov9bu8bi1s0jb2mo1_1280 copy

black christ:met cath:mc

the Black Christ above is from our trip to Mexico City @ the Cathedral

master of flemalle:crucified thief:1410:frankfurt

cristo alla colonna:1680:filippo parodi

sodoma

hot pieta

Apparently I am not the only on to see the eroticism in the crucifixion; sadly I do not know whose work this is. I stumbled upon it unidentified-any info very welcome.

mary crying6 copy

mary crying8 copy

mary with veil

zoppo,marco:1470:met

masaccio

Every day is Good Friday in my studio, aside from the numerous depictions mentioned above, my studio is dominated by a large oil on tin painting depicting Christ accepting the Cross (one of the stations,  I cannot remember which one). I purchased this back east, in snooty and very protestant Bucks County. When I spotted it in a dusty barn owned by a particularly arrogant designer/antiques peddler I asked after it. He laughed in my face, such an absurd request , who would want such a monstrosity. With withering condescension  he offered it to me  for five bucks. My heart was racing with joy-to hell with his arrogance, this was a treasure!

 It has been with me for over 25 years , I love it more every day. I rely upon it for facial expressions, painting technique, coloring, companionship during adversity, it has in so many ways  been a mentor. 

IMG_4830Be well.