oil on canvas. 2020
My oil paintings quote Michelangelo's frescoed figures of the Sistine Chapel to express my deep concern for a vulnerable world, and especially for vanishing animal species. As officials from the WWF, UN, and WHO recently wrote, outbreaks like COVID-19 are "manifestations of our dangerously unbalanced relationship with nature." Here I loosely render the rare timber rattlesnake with an ill-fated figure from Michelangelo's Last Judgement, as a cathartic relief to my horror of the coronavirus pandemic and the US Administration.
My deeper feelings of terror emerge and are cathartically released in the passionate face of this naked unprotected man. This facepalm echoes that of Dr. Fauchi at a press conference earlier this year and that of our emotionally distressed reactions to these surreal and risky times. The phantom hand grips, and the venomous snake coils, adding threat to the unknown.
I have taken the cancellations of schools, businesses, and stay at home orders in stride, but deep down I have a horror of the sheer numbers of deaths around the world from this pandemic, and a dread on behalf of the people trapped and exposed, for example, in nursing homes and in prisons. I am also aghast at the lack of proactive and science based leadership of the government of the United States.
My studio has always been at home, and despite the distraction, I now enjoy having my teenager and husband working at home as well. I seem superficially calm about the pandemic, but my deeper fears of it and how it is handled manifest in some of my work as a shift toward more ambiguous and disturbing images and themes.