Messages from the Dark Side

Adam Smith's Invisible Hand

The Invisible Hand - 2010

I didn’t intend to produce such dark images. They just seemed to happen. The first came from a picture of some sponges along the beach, and the second is the old “Steeple Building” in the Christiansted historic district. Yes, centuries before its most recent reincarnation as a National Park Service asset, the Steeple Building was a Lutheran church.

These may reflect my growing sadness and feelings of helplessness in the face of the tragedy taking place in the Gulf of Mexico — especially as that tragedy is just one outcome of the free market fundamentalism that has us in its grip. While it may not be healthy to focus on the negative, it can also be a mistake to bury it and pretend the darkness does not exist.

The subversion ritual is done

The Subversion - 2010

15 Comments on “Messages from the Dark Side

  1. Although the top image is lighter than the second one, I feel it’s creepier. It sort of looks like one of those bewitched mandrake roots turning into a homunculus’s hand that is covering a face.

  2. It is an overwhelming tragedy and to speak out is a good and honorable thing to do. You are not alone in your view, if that helps at all.

    Your work is haunting, disturbing and beautiful. Each of these stand alone as excellent works. I can even see remnants of hope in them.

    Keep speaking.

  3. Hi razzbuffnik! I think the hand is creepier, too. It was an odd finger-like sponge washed up on shore, not too different from bewitched mandrake roots — the perfect material for an image of the “invisible hand”.

  4. Thanks, Melinda. Interesting that you see remnants of hope in them. I think that stifling one’s opinion also stifles hope… so an expression of the darkness will bring its own light and hope with it.

  5. My subconscious speaks a very strange dark monologue from time to time. If I write down what I’m thinking about, I usually realize that something outward is involved and I never noticed it.
    … I usually just turn the music up a level, drink more, pretend to throw my tv out the window and kick imaginary things when this happens.
    I’m not into denial: I’m a realist that knows kicking something imaginary is all I have going for me … at the moment.

    note: why don’t BP executives and safety inspectors live closer to my foot?

  6. oh! I see my nextdoor neighbour’s carrots in the first image … and possibly a chicken doing a high five in the foreground of the second.

  7. Funny, planetross! Carrots and a high-fiving chicken! I especially love the chicken image, that’s just about right! As for kicking things, didn’t I see a picture of you kicking the bucket a few days ago? Or were you just kicking the dandelions? In any case, it’s time someone kicked some butt…

  8. The first one instantly gave the Hebe jeebees. ;+) The second my first thought was it would make a really good book cover. Lots of movement I also really like the color choices.

  9. Don, I just referenced your comment, “it is like the center of the earth is bleeding” about the oil spill. That phrase has stayed with me. The second image just fascinates me and not the least fascinating thing is that you did it. It is so different from some of your other work and yet so strong, confident.

  10. Thanks, Pat! The imagery in that phrase is arresting, isn’t it? I’m glad you found “The Subversion” interesting. It is different for me, both in the techniques I used and in the heavier use of symbolism. But it felt right for the subject.

  11. It’s good when you can paint out your emotions and find a form for them. I prefer the lower image to the upper one, it seems to have taken on some sort of other dimensional life of its own but despite that, or perhaps included in it, the sadness does come through.

  12. Thanks, Val. Indeed, it is good to be able to paint about what one is feeling. Glad you like the spooky church!

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