I’m continuing to turn out smaller, sellable things for the featured artist gig at 3060 Gallery on the West side in 2020. “Nude With Kangaroo,” finished just today probably isn’t one of them.
I’ve been obsessed with the theme of naked ladies riding animals for some time. It began with observing depictions of Goddesses atop their “vahanas,” (animal mounts). I’ve obviously been influenced by a God-niece who married a Malaysian Tamil Hindu from Australia and, yes, there is a baby involved.
The skin color of the human figure came slowly and caused some anxiety. The first impulse was to make the lady’s skin dark, but that would have made her disappear too much vis a vis the kangaroo. There was also a desire to avoid depicting anyone of African descent in relationship to an animal. Once the lady became light skinned, I had to decide how much the piece would be a literal reference to my young friend and how much it would not. In the end I nixed portraiture in favor of something with more universal appeal. The result is quirky, funny and probably only showable at hipster venues like the Vanderelli Room. Thank God for the Vanderelli Room!
Two other pieces destined for 3060 Gallery are also complete. Both are re-dos first done in the mid-aughts.
The original of this work was smaller and technically less accomplished but it DID sport a spray of vegetation which looked more like a marijuana leaf than a Buckeye tree. Oh well. You get some things and lose others when you revisit old ideas.
“Red Flower” is another copy of an old work. I first started painting again as medicine for a deeply disappointed and troubled emotional nature. At that time lower impulses were edging out higher ones and I was at wits end. Since getting rid of my animal nature was impossible, I decided to honor and make love to it instead via painting. Unlike repression, this actually worked.
We are all riding our own “vahanas” through this life. Just as in gardening, everything starts from the ground up. I celebrate the animal which takes me everywhere, from the lowest low to the highest height.