DAVIDGOUGHART

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Mother Deer.


You can’t really tell yet, but that’s Elen I’m painting, the lost pagan horned goddess of British folklore.
She’s Mama deer, spiritual consort, Shamanic pathfinder of ley lines and a divine fertility being.
That’s quite a bad ass resume, except to say that like most Pagan figures, it wasn’t enough for her Christian brethren, who gave her a historical make over and renamed her St Helena.
Still, her new turn as a latter day Lara Croft, seeker of relics such as the Holy Sepulcher and Christs Cross is fascinating on its own merit. Even if it meant desecrating the Temple of Venus in 333AD (Jesus in Hebrew for anyone who wondered) and relinquishing her female empowerment card, by re-erecting what John Allegro in his book ‘The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross’ called a ‘Phallic Symbol of ecstatic fertility and Resurrection’.
Its as close to Eve as I’ll get in my series about fallen Eden I suppose.
Having seen both ‘Annihilation’ and ‘Mother’ recently, it struck me that perhaps I’m plundering similar furrow as far as the cultural zeitgeist is concerned. Mankind being the great corrupter and pathogen in the garden and all that. Mother nature made barren by eschatology.  Although I didn’t really like either movie to be honest, and I suspect ‘Mother’ to be more of that directors bitter sentiments on being an ‘artiste’ in Hollywood.
Go tell it to Kubrick, Darren.
If my series, Purgatorium, ended with a piece featuring John Locke pointing the way  like a wise old owl, then Paradiso’s Fall is imbued with the myth of America as his Tabula Rasa.
One of the phrases from Miltons Paradise lost that jumped out at me as a foundation for the series was ‘The mind in it’s own place..can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven.”
So much of our personal Eden’s will always be tainted by expectation.
It’s something to bare in mind as I’m bearing fruit.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Death Rattle



“We are all bound thither; we are hastening to the same common goal. Black death calls all things under the sway of its laws.”
Ovid
“The gormless and the baying crowd right there.
They can’t get enough of that doomsday song,
They can’t get enough of it all”
David Bowie-The Next Day
Another skull.
One more deaths head dug up from the boneyard- commissioned on this occasion-but no less symbolically apropos for the dark times we live in.
When has that not been the case I ask myself?
Its not just my default anymore.
Death is prevalent. Everywhere it seems-because I believe the 242 year old experiment called America is dying.
Or has a suicidal streak running through it at the very least.
It could be these Divided States of Angst. You’ve felt it-that permanent unease we find ourselves in now.
Where acidic cauldrons froth over daily, and drown everything with toxic rancor and insanity.
Where another deadly school massacre, draws pious platitudes from crowing gun fetishists in tinfoil hats.
Where a swamp is substituted for a malfeasant cesspool of corruption, calamity and chaos.
Where every right eye is turned blind to the trashing of democratic norms in favor of trash talk.
Where Nazi’s and Russian despots are ‘fine people’ and the FBI is ‘treasonous’.
Where celebrities and sports figures ought to remain silent, when there is a game show host in power.
Where Evangelicals lament the downfall of Christian family values over a coffee cup, but endorse candidates who are adulterers with an appetite for porn stars and children.
Where an Intel dossier detailing a Presidents penchant for pissing prostitutes is ‘fake news’ but a pizza parlor harbors a Satanic, ritualized, child- sex /murder, cult…
To Mars.
And it’s not just the rank hypocrisy–it’s that there is a faction that seems fervently intent on hurtling us towards some cataclysm. Certainly, The Evangelical Taliban positively creamed its chaste gusset when the bloviator in chief, sought to recognize Jerusalem as Israels capitol. No doubt fulfilling the apocalyptic wank fantasy of every Christian jihadist, hungry for judgement day.
Because making America great means no greater cause than eliciting ‘Liberal tears’, even if the outcome is we are all annihilated in a tweeted, nuclear, maelstrom.
Sitting at the celebrating Bowie concert last week, singing along to songs performed by competent stand ins and his still sizzling former band, it hit me that part of the challenge now feels like the very best of us-the generational voices that would propel us forward, the thinkers of the enlightenment and champions of cultural change, have been replaced by the very worst of us.  Hitch, staring down the barrel of a cancer that would consume him said that he not only feared that he would have to leave the party, but that the party would go on without him.
Except the party ended when the life and soul was gone. Death took him along with all the other vanguard, free thinkers of his generation, and left us with the odious. The avaricious. The volatile. The dogmatists. The bullshitters, brainless barbarians and fools.
With almost uncanny timing, I write this as it’s announced Stephen Hawking has passed.
Intelligence, along with bastions of education and science are now vilified as ‘elitist’, substituted with a brain numbing diet of  TMZ, X-Factor, Fox News and Jerry Springer to occupy the vacuous mind of the plebeian. Little wonder then, there sits a President, perfectly suited for the National Enquirer generation.
Perhaps when they switched on the Hadron Collider it caused a fissure in the space time continuum, and we hit an alternative timeline,  a timeline where every virtue was turned on its head.  Indeed, the year that elected America’s greatest aberration and folly, brought with it a mass exodus of figure heads from every station.
Some might even say 2016 was akin to a rapture.
I really hope that notion leaves some Evangelicals as alarmed as the rest of us are feeling right now.
Except, I remind myself that in that same week as I watched Bowie’s guitarist, Gerry Leonard, lean over his guitar like a little blue rinsed granny, while a crowd of aging fans stormed the stage,  Guillermo Del Toro took an Oscar for his monster movie- ‘The Shape of Water’. As did the horror movie ‘Get Out’ highlighting racism, and finally Bowie’s great friend-Gary Oldman,  for his turn as Churchill in a movie fittingly titled for these times ‘The Darkest Hour’.
it’s a welcome rejoinder that as artists of darker themes, the torch falls to us.
Because as barren as it feels right now, we are on fertile ground.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Dali


Oil on canvas
9″ x 12″
Between prepping the canvas and sketching for the next piece, I knocked out another Alla Prima portrait in a couple of hours today.
Dali -in my opinion the greatest artist of the 20th century-has become so ubiquitous that the impact his surreal art had on me when I first encountered ‘The Death of Narcissus’ in a copy of Man, Myth and Magic in the 1970’s, seems almost neutered by its legacy into mono culture.
That mustache like an upturned curly bracket so synonymous, that the portrait didn’t resemble him, until the follicular finishing touch.
Still, the work remains utterly phenomenal and back then I was utterly obsessed, so I shan’t understate the influence he had on my own artistic quest.
In fact, I still read his wonderfully salacious ‘Unspeakable Confessions’ yearly, because the enigma of his work was made all the more profound by the fact that he was as mad as cheese.
Anyway, I’ll post it up in my store, should nobody bite on Social Media.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Rasputin


Oil on canvas,
9″x 12″
With Russia in the news again, I thought it’d be quite nice to trot out one of the Slavs other infamous sons- the Mad Monk, Grigori Rasputin-Alla Prima.
He’s another of those fascinating esoteric cult figures, from the time of the Romnovs, ministering all manner of occult practices from Theosophy to being faith healer to Tsar Nicholas’s son, Alexei.
A nice gig if you can get it, particularly if  the laying on of hands extends to the local nunnery.
Ongoing rumors of an affair and his influence over the Tsarina Alexandra, that such were the times then, it wasn’t too long before he was knocked off, although given that it took an afternoon buffet of arsenic laced cakes and wine, three bullets-one in the forehead- and dropping in the frigid Nevka waters to do the trick, may lend to the reputation of his mystical prowess, and the rumor that he did a zombie Jesus.
Regardless, the fall of the Romanovs wasn’t too far behind.
One hopes a similar fate awaits the current US dynasty.
Rasputin is available to purchase, message for details.


Sunday, February 11, 2018

Splendor Solis


A reproduction of my piece “Space enough have I, to lie in such a prison” was recently included at ‘The Studio and Gallery’ exhibit ‘Splendor Solis, which is based on an alchemist grimoire of the same name from 1532.
My piece was a kind of riff on one of its plates, having first saw it in the magazine Man, Myth and Magic back in the 70’s-the golum figure stepping from the mud into the welcoming arms of the princess. The princess of course in my version, being my wife Lani as the Miranda figure to my Ferdinand.

Including among others, are the exquisite works of Laurie Lipton, and I’m honored to be included, as it looks like a tremendous exhibit. Its also notable because its my first showing in beautiful Scotland, and I’m hoping it promises to be my first of more exhibits in the UK.
You can see full details of the show from the following website:
Show runs until the 24th February.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Climbing trees.


This was a week ago, so I’m further along. Detailing, nitpicking, slowly losing my mind  seeing the wood for all the trees, or at least its many branches. I never imagined that the landscape would be something I’d busy myself with, but on daily walks with the little dog now, I find myself lost in the threadbare treeline and crooked manzanita’s, not on the internal dialogue. I suppose it could be that thing Larkin said about his own fascination with trees…’Is it that they are born again, and we grow old?”


Still ten more to go before showtime in a year, got myself a portable easel courtesy of my wife in the meantime. Weather and knees permitting and as a sort of compliment to the series, I’m going to be knocking out some of the little landscape study’s to sell in the interim.
Perhaps I’ll follow in the footsteps of my more famous namesake after all.
If only I could find a money tree.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Limited Edition of This thing of Darkness


11″ x 14″ 
Archival ink of velvet paper
signed, dated and numbered
I know its been a long time in coming, but here it is.
Way back when I did Purgatorium, I set the remit for myself that I’d only release this series as a limited edition, but I wouldn’t settle until I could find the right vendor who could do it justice, and who was prepared to work with me to get the output exactly right.
And so, printed with archival ink on beautiful Elegant Velvet paper, as smooth as a babies ass, I’m  proud to finally release  the first print of what will eventually be the entire set of twelve, in batches of 30 each, for just $75 a pop.
With Valentines just around the corner, remember kids, giving the gift of dark art is better than a soppy card with love hearts.