It’s winter on the mountain, so colder than a witches tit , as my fingers numb painting progeny from some region of Hades. I’m tempted to liken it all to Munch in his open-air studio, or Brueghel freezing his arse off painting Hunters in the snow, except the make shift home studio / garage seems less romantic, and for all its crappiness-the little space heater disqualifies me from truly suffering for my art.
Still, it’s brass monkeys.
This one actually started out as something I knocked up at a live painting thing at some bar several years back. It’s sat abandoned behind a bunch of other unfinished canvases ever since. And then November happened, so no better time to dust off one of the four horsemen in the face of impending apocalypse I suppose.
I’m juggling two other large-scale pieces right now, which means all this renewed fever of activity will keep me warm before actual hell or a nuclear winter is unleashed on earth.
“If the inherent meanings attributed with the up-right turn of the Devil tarot, are those of bondage, addiction, materialism, sexuality then how do these external forces translate in a contemporary sense?
With this piece, I wanted to take a traditional, almost secular avatar and revise it to a set of recognizable boundary’s in a culturally and politically relevant sense.
So I used the moment a first term president, stood on the literal flagship,representing an iconographic and establishment figure head-U.S.S Lincoln-to pronounce “Mission Accomplished”
What was accomplished exactly?
Was it a pronouncement to something far more sinister, made as it was on May 1st- or May day- a sacred Beltane date in the Illuminati calendar and also coincidentally, the same date of the Gulf oil spill , the death of Bin Laden, and a decade to the day that I completed this painting.
History has catalogued the subsequent fallout and the measure of swaggering, corporate, militarized, imperial arrogance of that speech far more adroitly than I ever can in paint, but in regards to the framework of the Tarot and its meaning, how do we navigate these murky waters to understand our own complicity to inevitable destruction, and the Cthulu-like tendrils that tumult and take root beneath the surface?
We do so because we are beholden to established power structures, to our acquisitions, our narcissism, to the illusionary deception of fear through the media, the physical bondage of materialism, to superficial totems, to our endless distractions, our disconnection of each other through a wifi connection, our addiction to fossil fuels for the plundering of our Online Articles.
Who are the real Devils then? Are we the Luciferian aspect-the idolators that impose a hell of our own making upon Earth? And do we have it within our power to break the bonds of enslavement?
Or do we leave the chance to the turn of a card?”
It’s never seemed more prevalent.
It’s also going to be on display at Gregorio Escalante’s gallery for Chet Zar’s Dark Realism / Dark Surrealism show from December 3rd.
What a week ,eh? A week in which it seems the world has gone utterly barking mad. In the proliferation of editorials and post-mortems it’s hard not to cast this period as America’s final obituary. Hard not to fear the cataclysms and horrors the future holds. Hard not to see the dark specters in the hard lessons of history. Hard not to feel like Nietzsche’s crazed ragman, raging at the sky.
All too easy in fact, in a blighted year that has already been so fucking wretched.
As an artist particularly, its all too easy to retreat to escapism and impartiality, after all-I’ve heard it said that “being divisive, is bad for business old boy”.
Except I see nothing but complicity in silence.
Art-NOW more than ever- has a responsibility to turn a mirror on the unraveling shit storm that will prevail over the coming years. And it may be the only democratizer and means of expression left to those who may fear retaliation for speaking out.
And I will do my bit, as I always have to put my brush where uncomfortable truths lie.
To that end, there is my new series, a direct follow on from Purgatorium, called Paradiso-Edens Fall,a title that may give something of an insight into my dark intent.
Then there is the bridge piece between the two, “Leviathan”-(pictured above) which takes its title from Thomas Hobbes book of the same name.
I shall also be making an announcement about a piece which shall be showing at Gregorio Escalante’s wonderful basement gallery shortly.
To quote Hobbes-“Hell is truth seen too late.” , and for me there is no more critical time but now to tell it.