I recently finished this new painting, an 18″ by 26″ piece on paper, that is the newest addition to my Archaeology series. Titled Archaeology: Rainbow’s End, this painting features the subterranean debris field that marks this series including some of the recurring icons that show up in most, or at least many, of the pieces in this series. There’s a shoe, a peace symbol, a red chair, a self-referential painting and a mask, amon many other little bits and pieces.
I don’t know if there’s something in my psychology that is at risk here , some flaw that I’ve managed to hide from the world that might be exposed in this field of trash. If so, I guess that’s risk I’m willing to make. I really like the feel of this group and the way it creates a rhtymic pattern in the underground that feels like faded wallpaper in an old house, which is pretty fitting. There’s a sense of the nostalgic here perhaps enhanced by the warmth of the sky above, aglow in reds and gold.
The Rainbow’s End part of the title comes from the colors of the strata above the artifacts. Whenver I loooked at this piece that immediately struck me and I began to think of this as the rainbow painting over the long time that I worked on this piece. I worked on this in bits and pieces for several months, never quite wanting to finish this particular painting. Even now, after it is done and headed out to what will certainly be a new home, I have regrets about finishing it, as though it represents a personal piece. Maybe there is something in that trash heap that I haven’t recognized yet. I don’t know.
Maybe this hesitation to let a piece like this go is the reason I do so few of the Archaeology paintings lately. As well as the longer time it takes to finsih these paintings, there also does seem to be a different type of mental investment in these pieces. Like pouring out all the detritus that has accumulated in my mind over time for all the world to see. There is less control in this than in the painting of a landscape, at least in how the pieces are read by the viewer.
Maybe that’s it. Again, I don’t know. I never do. So, I keep painting in the hope that I will find something that finally does let me know. Maybe there’s something in this debris that I’ve missed. I better look again…