Thursday, May 6, 2010
The Ancestress & Summer Girl~
Back in the 80s I did a painting that I titled "Summer Girl." It developed in a series of drawings of stylized male and female faces, influenced by some of the early 20th century Navajo painters. The colors were close in chroma and muted, almost pastel - the forms were flat. William has the painting - maybe he'll share a photo of it. Summer Girl's body had a design, as though she were wearing body paint, of undulating lines that curved around the jaw in a certain way, and up each side of the torso. When it came time to paint Kim for the role of the Ancestress in YACB, it seemed natural to use the stylized makeup from Summer Girl - the idea of that was simply to signal "I am female." Another link was the butterflies. Summer Girl was standing in a field of stylized flowers and surrounded by butterflies - The flowers were Ruella, a summer wildflower here on the hill with an odd link to art - for some strange reason they were the subject of one of Andy Warhol's early silk screens. He probably just happened to see a photo of them and copied it. I think that was the only time Andy did flowers. Ruella opens for a single day.
The butterflies were Pipevine Swallowtails, a large, nearly black swallowtail with iridescent green or blue back wings. There used to be alot of them around here, sadly now they are rarely seen. I've seen one in the past five years.
In my vision of The Ancestress painting, the butterflies are the yellow ones, the color favored by the orisa Osun, and those would be Tiger Swallowtails, Cloudless Sulphers, Dog-faced Sulphers, Alfalfa Butterflies...
I made this photograph of Kim, with The Ancestress body paint, out in the hay field, as a step toward the painting.