This oil painting on linen canvas, large for me at 30″x 40″, I completed in 2004. On the back of the pew on the bottom left I signed my name backwards.
Through the Rose Window, its thin circular gold frame glimmering, sunlight softly shines, illuminating the altar space within, which with soil-brown molding around its base has a floor like a foggy looking-glass reflection of the night sky, stem and leaf green brick walls held together with petal-paste mortar and, rising above it all like the aura of a fragrant blossom, a luminous apse. Higher overhead an abundance of thorns crowd in as a reminder of the burden of consciousness, the sting and pain of thought, the hardship and suffering of mortal existence. The rib vault appears of living flesh, tending to sienna and ochre in tone where dense and hard, turning roseate where the webbing thins out and is stretched tight. This rib vault is like some sublime creature’s wings about to spread open, following in hypostatic union the open arms of Jesus on the cross. As the heart is in the mind: so the Son is in the Father, the smaller Physical incarnation contained within the larger manifested and blossoming Abstract. The Rose Window represents the eye of God. The mind’s eye of Jesus below, however, is the picture’s vanishing point.
Sub Specie Aeternitatis, the bustle of human beings in this overpopulated world resembles a swarm of insects.
The Rosary Beetles with heads reminiscent of skulls gaze through dark sunglass eyes at Jesus on the cross. The greenish tint of their skin suggests poison and envy but also nature and growth, hope and renewal. It’s unclear whether these Beetles are parasites feeding off a Host or are a vital and integral part of this organic and alive altar space. Do they pray for a return to their original form, having in the past been fully human? However they came to be there they now possess exoskeletons, outer shells, each with its own design, an extra pair of arms grown out of their sides, antennae wiggling from their faces, and mandibles protruding from their stretched mouths. Connected to Jesus on the cross suspended at the very heart and center, monk and nun Beetles, Cardinal, Bishop and Pope are all strung together by one long golden cord, which vibrates and hums, here pulled taut, there slackened, loosely but neatly looping where it changes direction, uncannily never becoming knotted or tangled.
The following pencil drawings I made before I began the painting: