December 26, 2013

Righteousness in a Bottle

Some small paintings, although diminutive, evoke a sense of largeness. That wasn’t my intent for most of my recent paintings of small bottles with imprints of Chinese character on them. But the painting of the last vessel with the imprint of the word for “Righteousness,” ended up seeming larger than its actual dimensions. Perhaps it was my reaction to the large meaning of the word “righteousness.” The etiology of the word for “righteousness” is an interesting compound, or logical aggregate. It is a combination of the word for “I” or “myself” and the word for “Sheep.” My Christian friends have always found that origin rather significant as a possible connection with a tender of the flock. For me it just means that righteousness means taking responsibility for, or being accountable to a community larger than oneself. And that is most likely why this form became different from my vessels of containment. This one is an object of expansion.

The growth of this painting from a small bottle into something that seemed larger started when I painted this vessel differently, not really as a vessel like the others but as a statuesque form something like a totem pole. To add to the textural mystery in the piece I painted in reds on top of variegated metal leaf. The vague image of a two-headed bird on top of the symbol for righteousness was printed from a stamp of the same. Is righteousness double-edged in nature? I would suppose so, as something both given and received.

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