Monday, May 19, 2014

State of Grace, the triptych part 2

Fall of Man
"He becomes still, forcing himself into a near comatose state, with his eyes wide open he waits for time to slow and the spirits that once traveled past him like bolts of lightning now travel like the smoke from a cigarette. He reaches out and grabs one, it is old and frail, and with the veracity of a starving wolf he consumes it.He has become a cannibal, he no longer wants to ascend to a higher plane, he only wants to fill his belly with the spirits of man and fauna.His sister who sacrificed herself to save her brother stands beside him; she is unable to stop him and can only look on in horror."

This is an excerpt from "State of Grace"' it describes the male twin's (one of the main characters) fall from grace and his transformation into a cannibal.

Cannibalism is the main idea behind the creation of this artwork, specifically the traditional cannibal stories and songs on the northwest coast. These stories and songs weren't about a person who suddenly became a cannibal because they were starving or mentally ill. They became a cannibal because they consumed too much.

They took to many fish from the ocean, to many trees from the forest and to many hides from the animals. They consumed so much that they became insatiable and transformed into a monster that craved human flesh. These stories were told to the young to teach them to only take from the world what they needed and if they took to much there would be dire consequences.

This idea is the main arc of the story, it was the problem that the Transforming Man could only overcome through self sacrifice.
The aesthetics of this artwork were inspired by a few sources. The first was "The Nightmare" by Henry Fuseli.
"The Nightmare" is an artwork that has fascinated me for many years. The strange little figure confronts the viewer and gives you a feeling like you are seeing something you shouldn't. I was looking for this kind of uncanny art when I created the "Fall of Man".

The hand the male twin is chewing on is an artists anatomical hand, this represented my consumption of western art history and critical theory, I was worried at the time that It might have a negative impact on my Northwest Coast Aboriginal practice.

And of course the teeth, the teeth were inspired by a demon from the pages of Alpha Flight by Chris Claremont and John Byrne.

Fall of Man was a pleasure to create, it was one of those artworks that flowed. Some pieces are a struggle from beginning to end and some you can't wait to go to sleep at night so you can start working the next day, this was one of the latter.