Gods of Affliction
acrylic and oil pastel on canvas
Meditating on affliction, these portraits revealed themselves to me as Gods; yet, these Gods have no notion of punishment, suppression, or pursuit. They are suffering made manifest, and are expressions of the afflictions that have accompanied humanity from our beginning. They manifest as beings because they are inherent in all beings. These descents bring us into intimate contact with a myriad of archetypal beings, including Shame, Horror, and Guilt. And while we may try to evade such encounters, these journeys are an inescapable part of the human experience. As such, they have the power to foster empathy, to enter into the experience of the other in a way that transcends race, gender, nationality, or creed. Carl Jung wrote, "Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darknesses in the other people."
acrylic and marker on canvas
In this work, I play with the paint-by-number metaphor, which deals with authorship, individualism, and independent thought in the world of mass media, mechanization, and utopian vs. dystopian subject matter. Paint by number kits not only tell the painter how to paint but what to paint; giving an illusion of control. Today, unicorns are just as mythical to us in the U.S. as Hummers and War; while simultaneously evoking wonder, speculation, confusion and misunderstanding. They speak of awe: an overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration, and fear- produced by that which is grand, sublime, or extremely powerful. Awe is the condition of something being bigger and beyond ones self: fairies, unicorns, war, and death all fit this bill.
Hand painted photographs
35 mm Kodachrome color reversal Giclée print on watercolor paper
ink, acrylic application