2.21.2006

Well, okay

This is the first painting I'm working on (okay, I'm working on them simultaneously, so by first, I mean the first idea I developed).

The image I posted the other day, and have reposted here, is Francisco Goya's etching The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters. It shows the artist sleeping on his desk, while menacing monsters emerge and converge on him. Reason and empirical thought, one of the many modern things we take for granted, were upheld as man's greatest acheivement during the Enlightenment (which some scholars say is the beginning of the "modern" period, others say it began with the Rennaissance). While many painters upheld the new advancements of the modern period, others resisted, fearing what would be lost. Goya is one of those who suggests that progress may not be all its cracked up to be. While the title might initially make you think, "without reason we get monsters? better stick with reason," Goya instead felt that the monsters were a necessary part of the human experience, which he was willing to battle for the sake of his artmaking.

Recently I've come to question the modernism I once loved. The problem isn't that all the advancements are bad (I certainly drive a car and use electricity, and I can't even begin to imagine how to not think empirically), but the problem is that we have become removed from their newness. We expect that things should be this way, and begrudge change. For example, the use of fossil fuels brought a lot of good things, but today we see that they also come with some problems, namely pollution and a finite supply. However, Karl Marx suggested that the problems become clear when the solutions become possible - and today, we see alternatives in solar and other green energy. Why do we resist change so much, when our present lives are the result of radical change?

So in these art works I'm trying to look at history, hopefully not selectively, to better understand where I am. And this seems to involve every aspect of life: everything I take for granted (or at least the things I am aware of taking for granted), I want to reevaluate.

My second painting is also an appropriation of Goya's subjects and composition, but the other two will be biblical narratives.

The watercolor is just a study, so their may be some changes - for one the canvas is slightly wider than the watercolor. I'm open to other suggestions. (and don't you just love my really sleek and modern ergonomical chair?)

12 comments:

Chara said...

Laura-
I really love the watercolor! I find it interesting that you have a tree and those naked ghostly girls floating in the background. I'd like to know why you chose those for the background- do they have anything to do with your personal demons? Hmmmm....

I'm interested in seeing how it all turns out.

me

Laura and John said...

doh!

I tried not to say much about the watercolor to let you draw your own conclusions - but I have to say, they aren't ghostly girls but wild men (hence the long hair).

Nothing so subjective as personal demons either - literary allusions...

Laura and John said...

I guess they need beards.

Chara said...

Maybe they should just be hairier in general? Josh has a hairy chest and pits and stuff...

Also- I asked because the wild men sort of look like you... That's why I thought of personal demons.

kate said...

I love the study you did.

I love Goya's suggestion about the necessity of monsters.

I love your insights.

Good stuff!

kate said...

What's the little red thing by the desk?

Chara said...

Laura-
I just noticed the new picture at the top of the page... do you think you could give me a starter of your Wandering Jew? (Chara Blushes wildly!) I managed to kill mine.

Laura and John said...

On the floor there is a red pitcher (actually, my fiesta carafe) and my Wandering Jew plant.

Last time I painted the wandering Jew I left it at the studio and nearly killed it. Then I brought it home and nursed it back to health (okay, I watered it a few times). I gave Stef a shoot off of it for a dorm-warming present. It's big enough again, so I think you can have one too.

Laura and John said...

sorry the image is so small

Chara said...

Hurray for one of the Sanders girls who hasn't killed her Wandering Jew!!

stefanie said...

and my little wandering jew is doing beautifully... ;)
laura - i like the watercolor, i could spend a very long time looking at it. i like what i see in it, i see elements of you, but there's space for the wildmen too. i'm curious as to what they're alluding to... i'm going to have to go educate myself.

Mom said...

hi laura and john