Thankfully, humanity’s precious folly is its capacity for hope that shines through the darkness of its circumstances. The subject of this drawing lies outside the composition, with only its shadow appearing. Portraying this shadow helped me to express something of the hope for a better tomorrow, along with the elusiveness of that which we aspire to reach. (2020, charcoal on paper, 44” x 30”, 111.8 cm x 76.2 cm, frame included, sold)
GARDEN FOR ALL DESIRES
If there were a garden that somehow embodied all the desires of this world, what a dazzling, resplendent and fearsome place it would be. Deeply intoxicating scents carried on warm breezes. Dewy and impossibly radiant flowers reaching towards our shadowy lives: inviting, sparkling and open.
In preparation for this piece, I taped wallpaper to corrugated cardboard, cut an elliptical hole out of it, stuck an oval frame on the hole and directed light from the other side of the portal onto my expressive model. I taped together little pieces of Black Wrap near the portal to create interesting shadow effects. Next, I photographed some flowers in my neighbourhood that had caught my eye because of the eccentric quality of their petals. I discovered they belong to a genus of plants called Datura that have toxic hallucinogenic effects if ingested—a dangerous dimension that fit well with the theme of all-consuming desire. (2010, charcoal on paper, 24 3/8” x 22”, 61.9 cm x 55.9 cm, frame included)
(1997, charcoal on paper, 28” x 19”, 71.1 cm x 48.3 cm, frame included, sold)
(2001, charcoal, gouache, grey pencil on paper, 18” x 18”, 45.7 cm x 45.7 cm frame included)
To be desirous of things and experiences has led to both creative and destructive acts through the ages. The chemistry of desire has prompted countless artists, lovers and warriors to engage the world and each other in their common quest for fulfillment. The consequences of these actions remain for those who follow to behold.
An exploration of love, imagination, creativity, violence and blood are brought together in this drawing. Here, I wish to express beauty itself bleeding from the wounded figure. I drew inspiration for this from Mantegna, Uccello, and traditional artists from India, Japan, Russia and ancient Greece.
There were some artistic gymnastics involved in the representation of Mantegna’s Dead Christ (see image to the left of the wounded figure's foot. I felt mischievous taking an image touted by art historians to be an early and unusual example of foreshortening, and foreshortening the foreshortening by depicting it as if viewed from an angle. (2007, charcoal and conté on paper, 49 5/8” x 53 ½”, 126 cm x 135.9 cm, frame included)