40 minutes ago
' Speculative / Operative', 2019, oil on panel, 20” x 16”, courtesy of laluzdejesus LosAngeles
In this painting, I wanted to push further William Blake’s quote in ‘ Laocoon’ “ SCIENCE is the Tree of DEATH… ART is the Tree of LIFE” This was in regards to IsaacNewton’sscientific pursuits and its popularity in Blake’s time. Blake was born 20-odd years after Newton’s death and in the Newtonian world he was seeing the practical and industrial implications of the development of science in the ‘ darkSatanicMills’. I think the Newton work by Blake points closer to his real feelings about the pure focus on science at the total negation of art. Newton solely focuses on his geometry while the beauty of the natural world around him is ignored. Blake believed there needed to be a balance. In his ‘ Jerusalem (To the Christians)’, he queries “What is the life of Man but Art and Science?” So with this in mind, I wanted to take this further and integrate ritual festivals and deities around water cycles, rainfall and propagation. Newton sits on a toilet, showing development in sanitation and recycling, while Chahk, the Maya rain deity dances on his back, chanting for rain. The scroll that Newton works on displays world currencies, relating to USA businessman TBoonePickins’ quote: “I know what people say, that water's a lot like air. Do you charge for air? Well, of course not. Well, you shouldn't charge for water. Okay, watch what happens you won't have any water” The title ‘Speculative/ Operative’ denotes the practical and theoretical aspects of water infrastructure, divination etc. The final aspect of all this is the discovery of Newton’s interest in alchemy via unearthed papers and the tale-tale signs of alchemical experimentation from the high amounts of mercury in his body after he died. Perhaps they were closer in thinking than Blake presumed.