Thursday, September 15, 2011

Like a Moth to a Flame

This is a new painting, actually I'm still not sure of a title. Any suggestions?

It's 8x10, oil on panel, it's curing for the small works 2011 Holiday Show at Principle Gallery in Alexandria, VA. 

When researching ideas for a title I found this interesting... interesting but not surprising, once again Shakespeare.

The phrase is a simple allusion to the well-known attraction that moths have to bright lights. The word moth was used the the 17th century to mean someone who was apt to be tempted by something that would lead to their downfall. This is referred to by Shakespeare in The Merchant of Venice, 1596:

"Thus hath the candle singd the moath."
Flames and matches have shown up a couple times before in my work. It's interesting to me when a certain imagery surfaces over time and I'm not really conscious of doing it. Painting is cheaper than therapy and way more fun but sometimes I'd like to know why.

In this instance I've used this idea before but always wanted to do a painting focusing just on the moths and the flame.

"#!%*&#$@", oil on canvas over panel,  37x24. This piece was done in 2006. My son was the model.

I had so much fun designing this. I did a lengthy photoshoot of my son wearing the Hulk hands, rummaged through the rubble of a torn down house to gather material for the still-life, photographed the flame from a blow torch and photoshopped in the lightning.

In the course of designing it I wondered if the lightning was over the top but finally decided It was a dark and stormy night... was a fitting background and just campy enough. And seriously once you've gone with Hulk Smash hands is there such a thing as "over the top?"

I think this is an example of a painting where humor and a campy attitude can still reveal truth. Channeling human drama, pop culture, emotions and irresistible attractions I just let it flow on this one, free associating imagery.

This piece is one we have added to our collection and it still makes me smile. 

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  1. the title you chose is as perfect as the painting. amazing work, just amazing!

  2. I cant think of a good title for your moth painting ,but it is very intriging...looks to me like an impending doom......

  3. Thank you Suzanne and Belita! Impending doom for sure.

  4. Thank you for the suggestion, "Torch Dance", I like it. I had another suggested via email, "Fire Dance", which I like as well. Thanks for playing along and sharing your insight!



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