noos (it is not far), 122cm x 122cm oil on canvas, 2006
the series it is not far depicts temporal time in its different incarnations. historic symbolic time is depicted in the first painting in the series, noos.
during a visit to the metropolitan museum of art in new york in the fall of 2005 i felt my first fundamental energetic connection to the fetish and devotional objects on display. this was due to the realization of their language. they spoke in symbols, often favoring animals and simple yet striking designs. around this time i found an $8 copy of shamanism by mircea eliade at a street sale, and synchronistically i happened to possess only $8. i belabored the decision, but purchased eliade’s masterwork. between toronto and montreal i read an account of a shaman, in which they endured an ecstatic trance ritual of fasting and imbibing some type of substance. the shaman awoke in a different world and was made to lie down by a smith. the smith gouged out the shamans eyes, placed them in the furnace, and returned them. he did this with his arms, legs, and various other appendages. when the shaman returned to the tribe he/she was fundamentally different. her/his body had been altered, forged on god’s anvil, and had returned now as a conduit between the spirit world and the tribe.
the flowers depicted are symbolic in both type and number. there are 4 poppies, positioned as the cardinal directions as explained to me by a towa man on an amtrak train whom i met by changing my point of disembarking. after painting i checked his information against the colors popularly accredited to the medicine wheel, and he was slightly off. however, i appreciated this accident as it relates to the happy entropy of oral history. there are 5 pansies, as 5 is the man number (we have 2 arms, 2 legs, and a head). there are 3 lotuses, which symbolize birth and rebirth, and 3 is echoed throughout the painting as the number of divine trinities. there are 3 anemones, which mean ‘of the wind’, and are also the dying god symbol as the painting represents different forms of knowing and the past. there is a single daisy, which symbolizes the innocence of totality, and a single calla lily, which represents me, the artist. calla lilies are now common to me in california, but when i delivered flowers to weddings in wisconsin they were very rare and expensive, and also bruised when touched. they possess a phallic grace, yet render very little scent. 4 horses are depicted, symbolizing the journey and the 4 horsemen of the apocalypse. there is a snake which ferries souls to and from the underworld, and 3 eagles, symbolizing the creator and divine trinities.
the tree in the middle is the world tree, a birch tree, and is upside down with its roots in the air. the river in the background is the delta of the ganges, one of india’s sacred rivers, and also symbolizes delta, or change.