The paintings based on the Greek myth of Hero and Leander owe a debt to the Veronese painting of Diana at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, due to the sequential events narrated in that painting. This in turn is retrieved by Veronese from earlier Medieval examples.
The myth of Hero and Leander relates the love story of Leander and Hero (a priestess at the temple of Aphrodite). Leander swims nightly across the Hellespont to be with her, guided by a fire she lights for him. One night a storm puts out the light and Leander perishes. When Hero finds him washed ashore, she kills herself as well.
One might think of landscape as stage, and myth as the actors, but as we know, the environment is not passive. Everything from the weather on the night before D-Day, to the storm that puts out Hero’s beacon to her lover, there is another actor in human affairs – the all-encompassing universe of which we are, even in the art we make.
How well does an artist grapple with, and get down on canvas, the awesome and soul searching all, the infinite in the moment, the very worth and work of our obsessive living and reflection? Art is life’s own advertisement to itself – a broadcast by which we may communicate the deepest things, of which we cannot tire, and that ride with us, even on a painted canvas, homage to the life of life.
January 9, 2008
Here is Hero meets Leander
And Apotheosis (Leander and Hero)
After Apotheosis, the last painting in the show was called Exile, which one viewer thought showed Hero and Leander banished by death from earthly existence. And there is exile in my father's story. I think there is something to this -- the sense of the world as separate from its history. I certainly feel a separation akin to exile since my father died two years ago.
And so, here is Exile
And here is another painting from the show, The overturned Boat
I would like to go on and explain all the background material concerning water, my father, my own experiences, only to show how art funnels many influences into each painting.
The practice of reflection on a show, or a body of work in the studio, is a requisite of the artist's journey. I have demonstrated part of that here, and showed that even in a relatively small show of ten works done in six months there are loose threads, ideas for other ideas. And how to gather these matters together for the eyes, by narrative painting?. . . by landscape. . . ? remains a question, too.
Art itself is a struggle for the proper means, for a means commensurate with ends. How and what attempt to become one. The artist cannot be satisfied until he finds a way to achieve that.