I created this painting over the course of several weeks in May/June 2020. In the 3rd month of quarantine George Floyd was killed and the US streets erupted with protests. Unable to get out to march, I stayed in my studio and worked on this painting every day for several weeks. I worked spontaneously and intuitively without any overarching plan or design. What’s on the canvas are the unedited marks expressing in real time, day to day, my feelings about where I was and how I felt about the arc of humanity. The painting’s narrative starts at the bottom left, with our earliest beginnings as a species. There are symbols and marks in there that have meaning dating back to Paleolithic art. Moving upward we find ourselves in a natural utopia of animals, plants and waterfalls, with a godlike figure holding the sun in one hand and gesturing to the moon and heavens with the other. We swiftly move from the land of ancestors and animism, the Gods of Earth, to another world where darkness, guns, industry, pollution, fear, incarcerated faceless people and military hardware take over. This is the bleak world of the Gods of Steel.
The bottom of this painting is unfinished: spilled paint and pencil marks on unprimed canvas. The future is yet to be written.
Gods of earth and food Gods of steel and blood God built the Rainbow To help us bridge the flood. Gods of nature, Gods of blight- We sit in darkness But pray for light. Tear gas presidents, Poems painted on roadways; Gunshots in the alleys, Angels in the words we say. A baby’s first laugh, A world in disarray: Every minute is night, Every minute is day. Threatened by all things, Threatened by Cain- We break the covenant Again and again. Gods of nature, Gods of blight. Gods made from darkness, Gods made from light. Our oldest stories tell of Black and White, Blindness and Sight, Might against Right. We must face the forest to find the light, All of our fears despite, To seize the day and end this night. ~s.stone 2020
“Gods of Earth and Steel”
Completed June 2020
Size and Media:
51″ wide x 72″ high, 3 panels painted with oil over acrylic on unstretched canvas on jute-wrapped wood batten. Poem hand painted on primed canvas. Pendent assemblage construction made of 2 sided hand-painted wood medallions (fire on one side, bees on the other) seashells and bullet shell, held with grommets, jute, twine, brass swivels.