continuing to be medieval...





Here we continue the medieval theme. These paintings are all 9in X 11in panels of wood (pine), and currently reside stacked on top of my desk. Because I'm not sure if I like them. The idea, in keeping with the medieval theme I'd been working on (and may be returning to?) in early 2009. Much smaller than the paintings posted previously, and on different material, they are inspired by personal devotional objects like the Duccio Madonna, which would have been used in the home for prayer.

Of course, these guys are a little different.

Truth be told, I got the idea from an episode of The X Files. One of the good ones, before they replaced Mulder and Scully with those other two. Anyway, instead of celebrating the perfection that is/was so often depicted in religious work, I was instead interested in the celebration of imperfection, as well as getting into some of the more mystical aspects of the Christian religion.

Before I explain any of that, though, I feel like I should explain why I like early Christian art. I like it, first of all, because I am not a Christian. I come to it as an outsider and so I don't have the dogmatic implications that can make people who were raised in the Christian tradition uncomfortable with the images, or reliant on their context in a personally spiritual manner. I don't have any of that, so for me they are simply beautiful things, and examples of one form of spirituality on a spectrum of spiritualities. Also, I like the earlier examples because they're less about the creepy institution (sorry, sorry, but that's how I feel) and more about the spirituality itself. They also speak to traditions that have been largely lost or disregarded by now, and often speak to modern Christianity's pagan origins.

These little paintings are called, collectively, the Nephilim (Nephil is singular). Nephilim are, in the Old Testament, these freaky sort of half-angel, half-human creatures that were not altogether good or bad, and somewhat frightening-looking. They are also referred to as "giants," and as a race who disappeared or were destroyed. There are a few interpretations, but I liked the idea of a being with uncertain origins and morals, who, in the rigid good/evil system of the Bible, remain somewhat ambiguous (DISCLAIMER: That's a broad statement, I know. I know next to nothing about the Bible--Hebrew or Christian--and am therefore not at all qualified to make that statement an academic one. It's more how I feel about it.)

Anyway, enough rambling. I don't even really like these paintings. I mainly put them here to record their existence. I should have sanded down the wood more, to prevent the glaze from pooling and not be generally ridgy and distracting. I also had people tell me they reminded me of Tim Burton's creations, which is dismaying because I really don't like Tim Burton. Oh well.