Last Belch of the Fish 25" x 24.5"
I attend a meeting in a space that has a children’s carpet with a lily pond motif. I have been there often enough, staring at it for long periods of time that I began to think about how I would redesign it. So this is that piece. The title is from a song by David E. Williams—he granted me permission to use it, which I was keen to do since it fits so perfectly.
|I see dead fish-people|
What inspired it beyond the carpet? Visits to the Salton Sea, concern about habitat destruction, ocean pollution and overfishing. Reading about animals’ emotions. A sense that animal protagonists are more affecting in some ways than human ones, after all, they are so obviously innocent in their predicament, as well as innocent of it---that ratchets up the poignancy by a more than few degrees if you ask me.
Fish are not easy subject to depict as characters without going overboard with anthropomorphic caricature. But I tried.
|This is really the only sketch I made.|
Compositional concerns: trying to make the dying fish appear in a fetal sac, whilst simultaneously suggesting a planet whirling about in space.
|Body Bag, 200? (I forget and I am too lazy to launch the doc to find out .|
Another thing that was key in making this piece was a desire to revisit the compositional motif from “Body Bag” (2002)—I wanted to make an amorphous, almost abstract cloud that went in and out of recognizability in terms of image. I wanted to create the feeling of a swirling muck puddle.
And of course, as always, I wanted to put forth a beautalist version of such. Beautalist is my new word that I invented just this week intended to convey a brutal beauty. I would never want to make a work that I could not look at, or consume myself. If one is going to traffic in preachy dogma, it had better look really, really nice, which is a lesson I copped from Christian art.
|Layers comprising fish pond separated. This part was partly improvised while in progress.|
|Bubble motif: l--red/clear flash glass, Middle: blue/clear flash, r: both pieces together.|