Streams in the Wasteland: Whale Hymn
Framed 24" x 30" Limited Edition Giclee Print, 2015 (Age 19-20)
When working on a large painting like this one, the long process allows me ample time to conceptually formulate my thoughts on the piece. Continuing my Streams in the Wasteland series, this painting fits the theme of wild animals in abandoned spaces. Gothic architecture fascinates me for its intentional diversity, which also reflects the variety and lack of rigidity in the natural world. The history of Gothic reveals a gradual discovery of the beauty found in natural forms, which could be transferred into stone edifices [i]. I imagined the concept for this painting over a year earlier, then later found architectural reference from the ruins of a 12th century cathedral in London, England. It had been transformed into a peaceful garden intertwined with ivy, red roses and fallen petals, historically symbolic of the Passion of Christ in European art. This would provide an intriguing exterior for an ocean scene emanating through stained glass. I became interested in Humpback Whales watching the BBC series Ocean Giants, which recorded epic sights and sounds of the largest mammals to ever live on the planet. The behaviour of whales, specifically their vocalization, remains somewhat of a mystery to scientists. Many believe their ‘songs’ may be more than mating calls, for the non-utilitarian act of expressing emotions. In contemplating this I looked back to the gothic cathedral, a space for praise where parishioners sang hymns to their Creator. So also metaphorically the haunting chants from the giants of the deep bring honour to their Maker.
[i] According to 19th Century Art Critic John Ruskin