Thursday, July 30, 2009
The wolf will live with the lamb,
the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling together;
and a little child will lead them.
The cow will feed with the bear,
their young will lie down together...
A triptych from my "Plastic Animal Phase." To me, the little toys suggest a type of things to come--a sort of "Shadowlands" version of the peace that we will someday live in.
Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.
Little devices for getting people into heaven (people who have just vacated the paintings). In the center of each piece is a wooden elevator construction. Turning the crank on top makes the elevator move up and down. These works are in no way endorsed by, or an endorsement of, the "Left Behind" books!
Early Christians assigned certain symbols to the writers of the four Gospels: a man or angel for Matthew, an ox for Luke, a lion for Mark, and an eagle for John. You can see these symbols in famous illuminated manuscripts such as the Book of Kells and Lindisfarne Gospels. These pieces are from my "Symbolic Plastic Animal" phase.
Lord Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the Boy Scouts, was a spy during the Boer War. When he was on assignment, he pretended to be a slightly daft British butterfly collector (the enemy assumed that he posed no threat and left him alone). Using this cover, he ostensibly sketched pictures of butterflies. In the patterns of the wings, however, he concealed plans for enemy fortifications.
These pieces are meant to evoke the Victorian trappings of natural history (wood and brass specimen containers, brass screws, faded maps, etc.) while exploring this very weird juxtaposition of something delicate and something warlike. As an Eagle Scout, it’s also my tribute to the ingenuity of this great organization’s founder.
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
The devil jumped for joy when Christ died; and by the very death of Christ the devil was overcome: he took, as it were, the bait in the mousetrap. He rejoiced at the death, thinking himself death’s commander. But that which caused his joy dangled the bait before him. The Lord’s cross was the devil’s mousetrap: the bait which caught him was the death of the Lord.
St. Augustine, Sermons, 261
A working ballista that shoots little paintings of dead monks into heaven (actually, across the room). It was inspired by a visit to the Capuchin Cemetery in Rome, where dried-out bodies of monks are propped up in catacombs, awaiting the Resurrection of the Dead.
[T]he blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.
Tertullian, Apologeticus, Chapter 50
The martyrdoms of Saints Catherine and Erasmus (Elmo) involved wheels: Catherine was tortured on a spiked wheel, while Erasmus was killed when his entrails were wrapped around a ship's windlass. This piece is a meditation on Tertullian's quote; the instruments of torture become a waterwheel. Palm branches are traditional symbols for martyrs.