135, Concerning the heavy-handed use of symbols.

135, 2017-11, Concerning the heavy-handed use of symbols., oil on linen, 60 x 90″ (148 x 228cm) (detail, 2)

This is nominally only a criticism of the unwarranted casualness with which anyone may invoke symbols to avoid any particular intellectual heavy lifting. My protagonist, possibly a gnostic hylic Galatea of sorts, wields the entire corpus of western culture in a burning heap, as if to fling it right back at the viewer. More obscurely, the scenario may recall to one’s mind Aristotle’s Four Causes. Mere materiality is not enough, we are nothing if not purposeful, and art must have a purpose, because for a conscious sentient being any action or inaction is an ethical expression. Complex ideas must not be reduced to materiality and a trade in mere symbols — to believe otherwise is to reject Life.