Oil and acrylic on 4 birch panels. A 1997 residency in Poland turned my work toward landscape. Rows of Polish trees with their random spheres of mistletoe became backdrops for invented genealogies. Such irregular rhythms in an agrarian geometry extended my exploration of visual metaphors for order undone. Mistletoe’s romantic reputation is complicated by its parasitic nature and medicinal value. Its berries are like pinkish pearls. Though born of irritation in the shell, pearls also have romantic allure. Mistletoe drains the life from its host, but prompts the lover’s kiss. The berries in Swoon are suspended in an idealized state and cast down, before and after the “fall”, the surrender, the loss of innocence. Swoon embraces this complication with an aleatory genealogical table that departs from a rational and patriarchal order of bloodlines. This impossible structure acts as an armature for the cascading drapery of Flemish painting, the surrender of grief and desire made incarnate. The eyes of the romantic and the realist are crossed in this painting.
Dimensions: 80 x 119 inches