Glory be to God for dappled things 2010

Painting Oil on canvas - Glory be to God for dappled things 2010

Oil on canvas
152 x 183 cm

The title of this large scale camouflaged reclining nude is the first line of a Gerard Manly Hopkins poem. In my work, neither the woman nor the aeroplane, are naturally dappled. Only the chameleon, whose changeability is natural, has yet to recognise real impending danger and camouflage or “dapple” himself. The chameleon has particular personal significance for me as a totemic symbol and besides its potential to effectively alter it’s appearance or disappear, it also has a primal erotic function; a dildo reposing in a purpose-built niche. Closer inspection of the composition could reveal more erotic references. The book depicted is the Penguin edition of the “Story of the eye” by George Bataille which is the quintessential erotic novel of the early twentieth century and on its cover is the last art work of Marcel Duchamp also considered to be an erotic masterwork. The pose is appropriated from one of a number of Titian’s Danae. It depicts the mythological fable about how Jupiter seduced Danae by showering her with gold. In my image the gold is replaced with the imminent danger and violence of the dive bombing Nazi Stuka, whose klaxon (screaming silently) still has the power to terrify its intended victim. However, the chameleon-like woman is in no way intimidated, if anything she is somewhat aroused by the impending danger. The salient difference between the original depiction and my image is that whereas (the male) Jupiter essentially sexually violated Danae, my reclining nude is stimulating herself. She is the “mistress of her own domain”. (Seinfeld)

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