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.

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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

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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

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#5

2014

acrylic paint on papier mâche form

The Feast Day of John the Baptist

It is ironic that I am nursing an annoying head cold on the day one of my favorite saints lost his head; puts things in a bit of perspective.

I have loved John since boyhood, his severed head had been burnt into my consciousness at a very young age. My family had visited Thomas Jefferson’s beautiful Monticello and in one of the bedrooms was a painting of that awful moment when John’s head was being presented on a platter. The image burnt in deeply, I was so confused, had Jefferson executed John ?( I was quite young ), I knew he held slaves, a grave sin, in my wild imagination it could have been true. The head represented  tragedy,sacrifice, bondage , perhaps release. It terrified and beguiled all at once. I have never lost that fascination and I have returned to the subject over and over. One of my great pleasures in discovering the Popol vuh has been the intense similarities between the Maya narrative and that of the western Christian narrative. The Maize God loses his head in a similar act of sacrifice,  difficult to not see the similarities.

The following images are just some of my interpretations of the Maize God’s severed head.

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detail from a larger composition

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detail from a watercolor, “Primavera”.

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watercolor, “Resurrection of the Father, II “.

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its relief print companion, also called “Resurrection of the Father”.

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another watercolor called “Resurrection of the Father , I”.

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another relief print “Strange Fruit”

I have just finished,  or nearly so, my last marionette , that of the head of the Maize God ; rather uncomplicated really, all it has to do is ascend.

10505389_10203779570879330_6058090575455424152_n marionette of the Maize God.

I will need to take better images of the  marionette tableau when I am feeling better, but for now, have a happy feast day of blessed Jokonaan. 

john'shead copy