The word oracle comes from the Latin “rare” which means “to speak.” But oracles also employ vision: of the past, of the present and of the future, to formulate their prophesies. Oracles were often connected to Goddesses, and were the channels through which these deities spoke to their people.
This painting started as an entirely different one. The original was an image of interlocking seahorses, in waves, with very saturated sun rays spreading out behind them. I never felt comfortable with the painting, and put it aside, face to the wall, until I could figure out what to do with it. One day I took a blob of black paint I had left on my palette from another painting, and smeared out the sea horses, leaving only the sun rays.
When the black paint dried, I looked at the dark blot and had what you might call a “vision” of what it should become. With that thought I began drawing on top of the random blob, giving it form. I filled in the background with a thin layer of tinted color, leaving the sun rays visible but muted.
The eyes on the wings were scratched into the paint, revealing the layers of original colors underneath. This form of work, creating a new artwork on top of a previous one but leaving part of the first work visible, is called a Palimpsest: something reused or altered but still bearing visible traces of its earlier form, from the Greek, psēstos: to rub smooth.
This kind of work says a lot to me about culture – everything in human history is a palimpsest: architecture, religion, arts, politics, ideas, all building on top of what was previously there. We are always overwriting our past, hopefully with eyes towards creating better futures.
Oracle is 16″ x 20″ x 1.5″ – oil on wood. It is currently available in my studio. Contact me for details.