I never know where to post my recent works when I finish... and so logically I choose here (because these "paintings" are truly multi-media) and the Abstract/Contemporary forums because the works are certainly contemporary.
I have been working for some 3 years or more on a body of paintings that I have thought of, for better or worse, as "icons". These have been "erotic icons"... based almost exclusively upon the female nude... and originally inspired by the erotic sculpture of the Kandariya Mahadeva temple found at Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh, India. The various stylistic elements of these "icons" have been fueled by my on-going love affair with art history. The works include ideas drawn from Japanese screen painting and Ukiyo-e woodblock prints, Persian/Islamic paintings, Byzantine mosaics, early Italian Renaissance paintings (Giotto, Simone Martini, etc...), Ingres, Bonnard, Klimt, Picasso, Matisse, and others.
Most of the themes I have used in these paintings have come from classical mythology and Biblical narratives: the Adoration, Pandora's box, Magdalena, Leda, Prosperpina, the Temptation, the Annunciation, the 3 Muses, etc... Recently I have been struggling with how to bring these themes into the present. While I have never been a fan of Andy Warhol, this painting was particularly suggestive:
I was struck by the realization that yes! Marilyn Monroe... Hollywood celebrities... and the heroes of popular narratives... these are the "icons" of our time. Another painting that truly resonated with me was "Ed and 'Lil Kim"
by Douglas Bourgeoise:
Growing up in New Orleans where various cultures rub shoulders with one another, Bourgeoise creates paintings that suggest a blurring of cultures. In "Ed and 'Lil Kim"
the tradition of Catholicism can be seen in the setting... clearly borrowed from Fra Angelico's Annunciation
In this instance, the Virgin Mary is replaced by Edgar Allen Poe, the great poet and story-writer who was the founder of the "Southern Gothic" style. Rather than being visited by the Angel of the Annunciation, "Ed" is visited by the vision of 'Lil Kim... an image of sexuality and the black musical culture so central to New Orleans.
For better of worse, I've begun to explore the notion of a series of "icons" in which the Greco-Roman and Biblical heroes have been replaces by popular icons, Hollywood celebrities, comic book superheroes, characters drawn from popular narratives and film, rock stars, porn stars, etc... Or at least such is the goal. This is the first work in that direction... I probably need not say anything more beyond technical descriptions...
This is a studio view which shows the mess made on the walls during the painting process. The painting, by the way, stands at 80x44"... over 7-feet tall. It is mixed media on paper (acrylic, pastel, color pencil, and gold leaf).
I included some details so as to convey some idea of the surface texture of the work.
Thanks for looking.