A few years back I was getting “itchy” with all of the tornado imagery. I do enjoy it, obviously, but I was just starting to feel that I was repeating myself a bit much. So, instead of transitioning with any modicum of maturity into what might come next I jumped headlong into a group of figure paintings, the first two of which were this one and some picture of a guy staring at a giant octopus on his house. Both of these were attacked on the fly with any reference material coming in a few steps later.
In this piece there are a few rather disjointed dynamics that got finally collected under a given theme. I had done both bride and tornado paintings (already a connection there if you think about it) in college but none of those bride paintings survived for the most part and the tornadoes took hold. But I had been looking back to my roots, to film in the 1970’s, to some of the Hammer horror films I used to enjoy, to Mark Rothko, and to what I thought the low brow movement could have been – and by this I mean that the low brow movement quickly devolved into incestuous joking, novelty, and levity. And it has since died I think because there are more people who want to consider something more gravid than punch line commentary and anime but I digress.
ANYway – monsters, mood, brides, picture plane, low brow, etc. – all of this comes together quite nicely into a single theme when you are dating and find that, regardless of personality type, a woman whose relationship with her father is very strained, will manifest almost the same exact fears, insecurities, and violence across the board. There are consequences of course for men too when daddy leaves but I don’t date men. I’m sure that some of you women here can chime in on that front. And it’s not their fault, these abandoned types, but their level of trust is permanently compromised. We, all of us, have one chance in life to know what unconditional love is like from the opposite sex and that is from that parent, respectively. It is with the use of this template that we choose a mate later in life. And without that template we never really “know” if we are loved or not. Broken families are sadly characteristic of America these days and, between “free love” of the 70’s and the divorce fad of the 80’s, certain age groups were left to a dating scene of enhanced “issues.” Add to that the whole “princess” thing via Walter Disney and you have a number of women all set up for quite a let down at some point in their formative years.
So – here is this image I guess of a bride going through and searching for love. I guess. It is called “Fatherless Bride” for a reason and, though quite a serious matter, I have chosen to inject some, perhaps therapeutic, humor. Think back to those vampire movies of the 70’s in which the female Dracula brides would hunt the country side at night in their sleeping gowns and you can see the imagery over which I am hovering.
And those hearts at the top are almost like thought bubbles coming up from her mind in some comic strip.
This chick is hunting for dad and her mate at the same time – and she will never find them – and you will be devoured as fuel for her next search…
There is a whole series of “Fatherless Brides” that has since settled down and become more incorporated into more recent imagery but I might post some more of these first ones here.
NOTE: If you look closely you can see sperm swimming in the blood. Also, to get the color right, I used some of my own blood to check it – basically alizarin crimson and ultramarine blue. There is a bit of it spattered on the picture plane itself toward the end – mainly at her mid-left, our right.
WHATEVER the discourse behind the painting, it is just a brilliantly painted figurative piece. I think the balance of horror with kitsch is crowned by the wonderfully absurd and silly paper hearts floating in the air! You continues to amaze me, John, and I love to be amazed!
Thanks again!! I very much appreciate you noticing those different dynamics as such.