So after much studio time (on and off, over a year) I am at last, pretty close, almost positive, for the moment, finished with my latest paintings. And although I have heard younger artists, seemingly without any pause (or apparent modesty) call their work “masterpieces” , I am in no way inclined to make the same claim; but I am pleased (for now).
56 by 40″
oil on canvas
click on the image to enlarge
I have been eager to get the painting into a presentable stage as Sunday is my turn for the critique group I have recently joined. As some of you might remember this is a bit anxiety producing. My paintings are very far from random and imbued (crammed)with meaning : personal, mythological, literary etc. All not terribly obvious from first encounter. I fear it might not be well received or understood, but that is something I cannot control. One of the problems I anticipate is that the one being critiqued is not to respond while criticism is being made. I might have bitten off my tongue by the end of all of this.
So wish me and the painting well.
I will tighten the painting some more next week, details and glazings, saturating shadows and such. Then I will try to explain the painting at some length in the final post. Hopefully with a better image.
David and I are experimenting with my marionettes, I’m looking forward to bringing more focus to the project after I finish with this intensive class (two essay assignments this week alone).
I certainly am learning from experience. The marionettes are essentially quite cute but a bit clumsy-actually their puppeteer is the clumsy one. But they do photograph well, as is befitting fellows “born” in LA I suppose.
The following are some images taken from this afternoon’s “shoot”:
We obviously have a lot to learn concerning production value…
It seems fitting that today, on the Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, that the City of Angels should have the blessing of rain. It is a gloriously blustery day as I snugly make this post. Gracias.
As today is her feast day I wanted to make a print to honor the event , the vision of Our Lady by Juan Diego back on Dec. 12th 1531. There are countless images of the Virgen yet I felt emboldened to create my own. It was tempting to make yet another sweetly naive woodblock image of her, but I wanted my own image, one conceived from my own perspective as a white middle aged gay guy from the East Coast, not at all able to claim Latino heritage (although my husband is half Mexican) yet respectful and enamored by the culture.
So this is the result, in several color ways.
Nossa Senhora de Guadalupe
4 color relief print on paper
image size 8 by 10 inches, print 9 by 12
2 color relief print.
I think I like this approach the best and I will play with it some more. I like how Juan Diego’s guardian angel appears ethereal, more of an apparition.
My intention with this print was to implement the motifs that recur frequently within my work, namely the queer elements, in this case the Hero Twins as played by Juan Diego and his Aztec Guardian Angel. I loosely borrowed elements from the codices in creating the angel. There is a vague and historically inaccurate reference to a New Fire Ceremony in the background, a nod to the “pagan” past.
My intention was for it to appear as if the Old Gods were giving their blessings to the New.
At last another entry for my Primer of New Spain, “N” for the New Fire Ceremony. The end of the Aztec “century”, every 52 years was a precarious time, one full of tremendous trepidation. In the period of 7 “centuries” four major disasters occurred ; it was of great significance to the Aztec that the New Fire Ceremony succeed .
After all flames within the kingdom were extinguished, the ceremony was performed south of Tenochtitlan at Huixachtlan, the Hill of the Star. The nocturnal ritual entailed the usual human sacrifice; but after the removal of the unfortunate victim’s heart, the priest kindled a new flame from a drill board placed in the chest cavity.
The belief was that the new flame was divine, sent from the heavens ; IF a flame occurred the Universe was given a 52 year reprieve, if not…
My interpretation depicted with my usual romanticism includes a youthful priest, the victim equally young; I am currently a bit obsessed with Cain and Abel; my Temple of Huixachtlan fashioned to vaguely resemble the letter “N”;my altar looks suspicioulsy Neo-Classical.
All to be expected I suppose.
It is interesting to note that according to Fray Bernardino de Sahagún the last New Fire Ceremony was held in 1507 during the reign of Motecuhzoma II; the eighth was scheduled for 1559 but by then New Spain was a firm reality and the Aztecs long vanquished.
On another note my painting The Sacrifice of the Father: Recollections of the Popl huh I has been accepted in a group show at the Los Angeles based Brand Library and Gallery ;the exhibition, Memories , seems to have proven a suitable fit for my offering. This is the second year I have participated at the Brand, the exhibition is Brand 41 as there have been 41 exhibitions. My painting is now sitting in my studio freshly ( and unexpectedly expensively) framed. I will most likely not attend the opening ( a bit of a schlepp), but I am hand delivering the painting tomorrow .
Until next time,
Found a silly Aztec cartoon that seem timely to this post: