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Birth of B-Art

Birth of B-Art, Mikel Glass

For anyone who likes to cook, I’d like to offer an analogy. This painting is like a long-simmering soup, thrice frozen, defrosted and reheated.

Its first incarnation was three decades ago, and included the main action in the picture. I was a big fan of the Simpsons, feeling that it embodied the pulse of contemporary culture, and I wanted to offer Bart a proper welcome to the world. I intended to suggest a metaphor for the birth of a creation itself. Isolating the moment that an idea turns into “reality” is an elusive thing, but I felt that the picture in some way at least paralleled Matt Groening’s inspiration.

A couple of years later, having never felt satisfied with my initial effort, I defrosted the picture again. This time I added the background and foreground elements. This darkened the mood of the painting considerably and diluted it as an homage to Groening. But I feel it allowed the painting a chance to stand on its own pictorial merits.

Still not satisfied, I yanked the painting out of the deep freeze one more time a couple of years ago determined to tie up its loose ends. This time I focused on several specific areas of the painting that bothered me. Not wanting to re-explore its content, I decided on another tact, employing my fruit creatures to do the work for me. Having heard of colonies of flesh-eating beetles used by anatomical skeleton preparers to clean bones before articulation, I decided to suggest a similar function for my creatures. Their function was to literally devour the areas of the painting I was not happy with. In so doing I was able to acknowledge the picture plain by both painting them in trompe l’oile fashion and by having them scratch and peel the actual physical paint from the surface of the painting. I am intrigued by the tension created in the work as the attempt to create illusionistic depth on a two-dimensional surface is undermined by the acknowledgment of that surface itself.


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