oil on panel, 36" x 24"
This follows a similar structure to the painting New Growth(see earlier post). I was reading Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead while working on this. The painting concerns itself with a similar theme as the book, regarding society building on the achievements of previous societies. The book sees this borrowing as lack of originality, and while I appreciate that aspect, I also see it as a passing on of the torch, so to speak. It really depends on a case by case basis.
The painting is an allegory. The upper hand reaches skyward, striving for excellence, and is concerned with vision as it comes forth from the head above the eye (eye = consciousness). The lower hand seems to struggle to grasp a snowy mountain peak, still making the journey. The African figure has a white eye mask, serving as the opposite of a blindfold, i.e. enlightenment. The black head/neck form a kind of totem pole that is primal, the eyes seeing in the dark (unconscious).
The painting is funny in that it could be about the duality and sense of purpose within one individual, while at the same time can be interpreted as the diversity and ambition of a group: policies and social orders are not always what they appear at face value, but may come from unconscious drives common to a society. [This could lead to discussions regarding Manifest Destiny, the Iraq War, Genesis and the environment, the manipulation of the masses in advertising, etc.] The painting is about the positive aspects of people and culture, but is not in denial that this tension with a more mysterious side exists. There is mystery in the psychology of the individual as well as in the psychology of the larger culture. It is so complex that discussion of it is really out of my range of expertice. I am better at painting the allegory, but this is a window into what I am thinking.