153, 2020-03, SACRIFICIVM (Potaliya Sutta), oil on linen, 60 x 90″ (152 x 228cm) (detail)

This piece will be one of seven large new works as part of the “Untitled Enthymeme” exhibition at Chaos Gallery, Portland, Oregon, opening reception July 2, 2020 6—10pm, through August 23, 2020

Begun as an altarpiece for a Shrine of Sacrifice, SACRIFICIVM (Potaliya Sutta) originally featured a protagonist blacksmith in a Map Room, working at forge, bringing a hammer down onto her own second head. This is not only Nietzsche’s “philosophy with a hammer, to ring out false idols”, but to identify the nature of Sacrifice as being the transmutation of one raw material into a higher-order material. The painting was technically unsatisfactory, so it was stored for some months, until an activist painting event in Portland called “Painting to Save the Trees”, where I took the piece to an en plein air location where stood endangered old trees— the protagonist was wiped away, painted over and replaced by a ghostily superimposed tree portrait, painted from life.

This outcome too was unsatisfactory, so this was all also scrubbed from the canvas. Finally the protagonist was replaced with a subject’s meditation as “lust abatement ritual”, the abnegation lesson known as the Potaliya Sutta.