Susan plans to do an extensive post on my work in the future but I thought it was time to post some of my paintings for visitors who do not know of my work. The romantic and symbolist art featured on this site was a great inspiration for my work. My interest in the spiritual aspect of art sent me in a very different direction than my peers.
A few days ago, I happened to see my friend Peter who is an artist shopping in the supermarket. He told me he had been in a plein air painting competition. He said he had to produce seven paintings in three days. It struck me as absurd, it usually takes me three days just to find a location that inspires me. I could tell he was exhausted. It was as if Peter was in a golf tournament! Such a competitive and material approach to art is bound to blind one to the essence of art, an insight of the soul. Symbolism of the 19th Century was a response to the trends in materialism. So the purpose of this site is not just to archive interesting work of the past but to inspire artists in the present.
I began Sorrow of Venus about 15 years ago. Originally, there was a young lad playing a flute and the background was a misty forest, so the figure of Venus is all that remains of the original composition. The group of children playing London Bridge was based on an old photograph from a German naturalist publication of the 1920’s. Such a pacifist image of nude children I find so compelling because it stands in contrast to the horrific images of victims of the Holocaust. When these children grew up they were living in Nazi German. If the reverence for life I see reflected in the innocence of the children was a fundamental principle in Germany, the Holocaust would have never happened. In the past, images of the Golden Age served as an ideal of what ought to be. The Sorrow of Venus reflects the grief from the terrible loss of these principles in contemporary culture.
Natural Cathedral is an other painting from around 15 years ago. The painting is not as realistic as my more recent work. At the time I was influenced by the muted pallet of the Symbolists, which gives the painting the effect of a dream. The title of the painting reflects the concept of the sacred groves. Francis Schaeffer recognized that for centuries God had been envisioned as “absolutely transcendent, apart from the world, isolated from nature and organic life.” The consequence of perceiving nature as only matter lead to the easy exploitation of nature. I came to realize my landscapes are a reaction against this perception of nature.