I did these paintings in the winter of 2006 in an attempt to explore my conflicted feelings about the war in Iraq. They combine Taoist images with Biblical themes to form a meditation on creation and the human condition. I began Iraq as a simple reflection on a circle of light. But as I found myself splattering red onto the paper a bloodied globe held tenuously in human hands emerged. And I asked myself, “How has the world come to this?” The rest of the series forms a response to this question.
In the Beginning suggests that with the creation of a material universe, the Tao of divine wholeness began to come apart. The world of opposites that we all experience- sky and earth, light and darkness, male and female, good and evil- was born.
Be Fruitful and Multiply depicts the joyful energy and diversity that came about all manner of things were created. But inherent within this rich diversity were the seeds of its own destruction, the limitations and differences that have given rise to all our conflicts.
Thy Brother’s Blood is about the beginning of these conflicts. The yin and yang have pulled further apart and out of that rift flows the blood of endless war. In Babel the elements of creation- all of us- are flung outward from their sacred center and an ominous dark cloud appears. In Diaspora the dispersion continues. And yet, despite it all, a circle of divine light remains a constant, shining forth behind the chaos.
And so, Kyrie Elieson returns to the images of the first painting. It show our bloodied earth cupped in loving hands and offers the prayer, “God have mercy.”