oil on panel, 36" x 24"
This painting is related to last week’s post, Open-Mindedness in terms of its subject: a head with hands, and its content: flexible thinking. The head started out looking a lot like a mannequin, plastic, perfect in a Barbie sort of way. It was so flawless that I hesitated to touch it, but then realized it was necessary because I am not that ideal and do not aspire to be so false. The resulting portrait is bolder, not pretty. I thought of having “cross-section” as part of the title, but that would place to much focus on anatomy. There is an x-ray quality with the way the hair does not cover the entire head, the hands placed inside the head, and the suggestion of an esophagus. The hair is cloak-like, mysterious, symbolizing the unconscious, I think. The hands are expressive of active forces within my mind, perhaps external influences (the gray hand) and a creative drive that comes from within (red hand). The red hand is ambiguous with one small finger resembling a thumb. This was partially influenced by furniture maker Wendall Castle who has a piece on display at the Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester of a wooden hand with six fingers. Here it lends a bit of symmetry. The three central fingers sprout trees, hence the title New Growth. The trees are not static, but are swaying out there in the world. They symbolize my art as well as personal growth, both of which require some degree of suffering (struggle) as part of the process, shown by the wound on the forearm of the creative hand.