Sunday, February 13, 2011

A New Composition: The Tower of Babel

Throughout my life I have been drawn to painting and writing since my words seem to continually fail me. Of late, it seems that if I manage to stammer out a response, it is quite unintelligible to anyone who hears me.

Nonreligious as I am, through all of my miscommunications, I keep recalling a story I heard when I first came to this country, that of the building of the tower of Babel in the land of Shinar. "They are one people and have one language, and nothing will be withholden from them which they purpose to do" The people yearned to build a tower to reach the heavens, so they can always be united in knowledge and understanding. "God," learning of this plan said "let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech. So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city." (Genesis, The Bible).

The story has been coming to my mind recently as I have encountered people who seem to exceed at communication, and so frequently fail at action and others who stammer to be heard. The name of the tower and the city which held it, as it later came to be called, originated from the Hebrew word "babal" which means to jumble, confuse or confound. It hit a cord with me, this structure which seemed to be destined for incredible greatness, but failed at our inability to listen and hear each other. It seemed a great opportunity to explore a variety of gestures and figural compositions, as well as the necessity for a great depth of field and architectural elements which have been missing in much of my earlier work.

Since my last visit to the Getty Center in Los Angeles where I saw Printing in the Grand Manner: Charles Le Brun and Monumental Prints in the age of Louis XIV, I have been increasingly interested and influenced by Charles Le Brun, and somewhat more significantly by the exquisite black and white prints created from his works by his contemporaries and followers.

There is a really great sense of movement created by curving bridges and horses falling and thrashing through bodies of water. Although this piece is significantly more stagnant and disjointed due to the lack of correlation between the characters, I have spent a lot of time looking at Le Brun's compositions and hope to claim some influence therefrom.

There are a few adjustments I need to make with some of the character proportions and gestures, but I am happy with the overall composition and wanted to share!

Also, I have taken a much better shot of Happiness is Only Real When Shared:

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