This is number one in The Seven Laughters of God series. “When God Laughed, seven gods were born to rule the world. When he burst out laughing there was light. When he burst out laughing the second time the waters were born; at the seventh burst of laughter, the soul was born.” The source of the “Seven Laughters of God” is an Egyptian creation myth, found by German archaeologist Theodore Hopfner on a scrap of papyrus, and published in the 1970s. I discovered them first in a Robertson Davies novel, What’s Bred in the Bone.
My composition makes an obvious reference to the major Egyptian god/cop, who creates a lesser god, the young painter, but by inverting the role of the artist, the work also raises questions about the god-like nature of artistic creation and art’s limited acceptance by society—rebellion versus adoration. There is a sense that history is buried in the layers of the young muralist’s work, suggesting an evolutionary connection to the past that also relates to the Egyptian source material. The painting is dedicated, “In Memoriam, JD.” It is for my old friend, Jim Doolin, who died a couple of years prior to the painting’s inception. Both the painted landscape scene and the city freeway in the background are an homage to his wonderful land and cityscapes.
Magnificent and powerful. Robinson Davies’ Deptford trilogy still reverberates many years after reading it. The god/cop looks sadder in the study. What a sense of time: the archaeological layers in the mural and the layers of freeways, steps, flowing water all to become a future layer of lost time. Not to be too intellectual, but in relativity theory time and light are one and the same. Was it too obvious for you to cite Michaelangelo’s finger of god? This is just an extraordinary painting. Thank you for it.
Thanks, Jerry. I never even thought of Michelangelo’s finger of God. I ‘quote’ art history often in my paintings, but usually try to do it in a way that is not in your face. It should be discovered after viewing the painting for a while, and then add another layer of meaning, or maybe shoot the potential meaning of the piece off in a new direction.
I’m afraid relativity theory goes way beyond my ability to understand. The light/time connection is interesting, and would have saved me making that extra painting!
Jim was a great artist, and a good friend. I loved what he’d do with color. Vibrant opposites pushed up against each other, and they always worked. Talking with him about art was alway a challenge and a treat, and I miss his voice. Eventually I’ll be posting a portrait I did of him, but it might be a few months. I’ve got a big backlog!