Apes Series, “Homecoming” and “Three Graces”

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The “Apes” series as a whole has focused on the condition of humanity as an integral part of all that is, in contradiction of our tendency as humans to see ourselves apart from nature, as a separate and somehow special species.  This, the fourth painting in the series, is entitled “Homecoming.”  It depicts a man contemplating his Mother Earth- her corpulent and fecund body depicted as a massive stone formation- and experiencing his inseparable bond with his origins as earthly matter.  His feet are taking root in the stone on which he stands, and branches are sprouting from his head and shoulders.

Off to the side, he reappears as an artist, who has been contemplating his place within the natural world, and is just beginning to articulate his understanding onto the chaos of his canvas.

I began this painting by splattering the canvas with random splashes of color.  The pattern of splatters formed the basis of the stones’ textures, and shows through the rendering of the male figures, as well as the canvas on which the artist is just beginning to inscribe his first line.  In a sense, the splattered pattern is intended to suggest the fabric of space and time which underlies all of existence, and provides generative  structure to our own attempts at creation.

“The Three Graces” is a pencil drawing, related in style and content to the Apes” series of oil paintings.

The Three Graces, in Greek mythology, were three goddesses who represented such qualities as Joy, Charm, and Beauty. They are generally depicted as three maidens, often with hands clasped in a sort of circle dance.  Like the muses, the three graces served to inspire artists and poets and musicians.  In a moment of whimsey, I chose to depict them as two human female figures and one female orangutan.

Traditionally, the three are depicted in concert with each other; in my version, their association is somewhat more strained and tenuous, each harboring her own individual quality in an uneasy equilibrium with the other two.  I cannot account for this deviation from the traditional representation, except to blame it on something mischievous in my nature that refuses to completely embrace convention.

The apes series has itself been a deviation of sorts- a stylistic side trip in the general course of the rest of my work.  There are more installments in the incubation stage, so check back from time to time.

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