Streams in the Wasteland: Brother Wolf
Floatmount 33" x 16" Limited Edition Giclee Print, 2015 (Age 20)
I have become increasingly drawn to Eastern environments, and envisioned juxtaposing an arctic wolf in a Mughal-styled minaret. The architectural elements and geometric patterns in this prayer tower delineate expert design and craftsmanship. I first encountered the Arctic Wolf at Omega Park in Quebec, and was struck by its nobility and force, although for many cultures and religions the wolf has been symbolic of deception and terror. I interpreted this Arctic Wolf’s snowy pure coat as a sheep-like façade for its actual ferocious demeanour. The blood around its mouth and on its paws subtly indicates a darker nature, both literally and symbolically. I happened to be studying St. Francis of Assisi while working on this painting, and came across the story of his encounter with the Wolf of Gubbio. As an ascetic mystic who had a thaumaturgic relationship with the natural world, Francis was summoned by the city to stop the infamous wolf from relentlessly devouring animals and people. As the wolf charged, Francis made the sign of the cross and commanded “Brother Wolf” to do no harm. The crowd stood in wonder as the wolf immediately shut its mouth and came peaceful as a lamb to lay at Francis’ feet, never to harm the people again. Whether true or apocryphal, this story brings to mind those causing terror in our present world, those who courageously stand against them, and the need for peace in troubling times (John 14:27).