Wednesday, October 3, 2012

I Can't Have Tea Late at Night Because of All the Ayes Ayes

This painting explores the idea of insomnia, and its psychological effects. An interesting side effect of lack of sleep is the distortion, or ripples, in the stream of perceived reality. Deprive yourself of sleep long enough, and the world of dreams begins to seep into our world of being awake. Whether the cause of insomnia is internal or external, a lack of sleep can alter our perception and temporary understanding of time and space, and we can begin to question the certainty of our being and what we traditionally perceive as normal life experience.

The aye-aye is a nocturnal lemur from Madagascar with an unusually long middle finger. Some natives of Madagascar believe that aye-ayes are heralds of evil. The superstition surrounding the aye-aye is that if one should point its narrow middle finger at someone, they are condemned to death. It is also believed that aye-ayes sneak into houses through the thatched roofs and murder the sleeping occupants by using their middle finger to puncture the victim's aorta. Because of this some villagers will kill ayes-ayes on sight and hang up their corpses to ward of evil.

In this artwork the woman sits naked at the dining table, while floating up towards the chandelier on the ceiling as a group of curious aye-ayes ransack the house. The woman has given up, letting go of any semblance of control, accepting everything with an indifferent passivity, creating a symbiotic relationship with the inquisitive lemurs. The aye-ayes in the artwork are a manifestation of insomnia, the furry heralds of the inauspicious, with each passing moment the problem becoming larger, more out of control.

This painting was created in 2010.

The Blind Prophet of New Orleans

The man in this artwork is blind, his sight is not of light waves, but more metaphysical.  He is the landscape of New Orleans, he is the streets, the buildings, the bridges, the trash, the enslaved horses, the ubiquitous street musicians, the bittersweet smell, the ancient cracking sidewalks and musical rot iron. The city speaks through his mouth, but no one listens.

If our lifetime was only one day, could you believe in the existence of the stars and the eternal deep night of the universe, if all you had ever seen up to that point was the blue skies and clouds?  The revolving dance and song of the prophets echo throughout our history, alternating between respect and ridicule, between a belief in that which is only tangible and that which is beyond what our eyes can see.

Most prophets from western religions could be seen in the same light as the homeless man preaching in the street. Moses talking to a burning bush, Abraham about to kill his son because of voices he hears. These are just two examples of many. If these events took place today, on our modern stage, how would the average person look upon these prophets? Imagine a modern day prophet warning the cities inhabitants that there will be a terrible flood in the streets of New Orleans in the near future.  Who of us would take them seriously, would even stop to discuss it with them? How do we draw the line between illusions and fantasy, and our shared collective reality, and is there even a line?

This painting was created in 2009.