2013. h:65cms x w:54 cms (framed).
A cloud of butterflies whirl around a pale upreaching hand. All the butterflies were painstakingly studied and painted from paper or plastic toys, except for one: the only real butterfly is the fragment of a tortoiseshell gently cradled in the hand. Originally conceived as a the first in a trio of paintings inspired by Dutch still life imagery, this became, in reality, a personal Memento Mori work for a beloved friend. Imagery of transformation, gentle protection, sacrifice, Christianity and the devil, salvation and death were all in my mind when I selected the subjects for this painting.
At the centre of it all is Flauna’s hand (goddess of flowers and animals). The butterflies are souls ascending, descending and tumbling around the transforming caterpillars. The bead skull, devil’s head and my child’s teeth reference mortality. The black butterfly made of beads clinging to the hand is a vintage millinery decoration: embodiment of fleeting vanity. The stigmata of falling antennae from the fragment of the tortoiseshell butterfly trace the beatific gesture of the waxen hand. In the background I have left in the textured silhouette of an over-painted butterfly; it emerges out of the black void revealed only by raking light. The original Victorian frame has a faux tortoiseshell finish.
Artwork Group Image: