Disposable Heroes

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Have been in a couple group shows in the last month or so.  A photo show and a drawing show.  Needless to say I'm dying to paint again.  More on this soon.

"Line Dancing" was a show put together by Stephen Kobasa at West Cove Studios.  A treasure of personal  finds from years of visiting studios as a critic for the Advocate and now Art in New England.  My submission for the show was titled "Coward, Servant, Blindman."  As is often the case, my titles come as I'm working on the piece and often come from lyrics.  In this instance, from Metallica's Disposable Heroes.  

I was thinking of the Ram in the piece in relation to the story of Abraham's sacrifice of Isaac, where at the last moment before he cuts open his son, he is stopped and shown a ram caught in brambles to replace his son as a sacrificial offering.  Besides the textual story, my mode of reference and reverence comes from two additional places:

1. the Rembrandt painting of the subject in the Hermitage. They have a great collection of Rembrandts that I was never overly interested in until one of the guards drew open the curtains and the sunlight fell on the Isaac painting.  The white fleshiness of the torso and the fact that the face is covered to deny the boy's identity makes you see it distinctly as a sacrificial object.  The sun flooding from the window made that body a beacon of light.

2. the Kafka Parable on the subject: He imagines another  Abraham. a disgusting old man with a dirty urchin as a son.  Willing to perform the sacrifice, but not believing that it is he who has been chosen by God for this deed, He is afraid he'll turn into Don Quixote and the laughing stock of the world along the way.    The desire ,paradox, and absurdity of faith is perfectly inherent in this gem from kafka.  The doubts and dilemmas of art making are nicely entwined in this for me.

As I was listening to the Metallica song for a nostalgic visit to the music of my high school days, the lyrics "You Coward, You Servant, You Blindman" came up and I started interpreting those words in the context of the drawing.  You can easily put any of those labels on Abraham in the textual story, depending on how you interpret it.  Blindman- in that he misinterprets God or doesn't see the Ram.  Servant- in his dedication to sacrifice his son.  Coward- in that he doesn't go through with sacrificing his son.  Equally these labels could be applied to the characters in my drawing:  the Ram, the people fleeing, or the hanging feet.

There is a review of the show HERE

The photo show, 8 eyes, was curated by Steve DiGiovanni. An interesting premise to the show: take 4 painters and see what they would do with photography.  There was a range to the show: photoshop composites, polaroids with battle scars of the studio, still life arrangements seen through the eye of a flatbed scanner, and long exposure night shots.  

Read a review of the show HERE

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