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Day 40 Mortified Desolation

Publication Date
  • Art
  • Modern
  • Ball State University--Students
  • Art
  • Paintings
  • Watercolors


I have always found it amusing that many things that are considered a staple to children's literature started out as cautionary tales filled with blood, sex, and death. It's so strange to me how these stories have changed over time. Little Red Riding Hood, for instance, began as a story involving feces jokes, cannibalism, and a heroine who saves herself from harm. It now involves a girl who is naïve and innocent and needs to be saved by a huntsman after she falls for the wolf's tricks. My paintings are meant to interpret and reinvent selcted fairy tales while going back to their original meanings. They are not to be literal illustrations. Little Red Riding Hood and Beauty and the Beast are the core focus of this series. Little Red Riding Hood is dealt with in three paintings focusing on the three mahor stages of sexuality in a woman's life: the onset of menstruation, the loss of one's viginity, and sterility. There are numerous version of this story and I have combined many of them in these paintings. In one the red hood she wears is meant to represent the beginning of menstruation and the forest she wanders into stands for a dangerous reality that she is unequipped to deal with. In the same version, the bottle of wine she brings her grandmother represents her virginity that is lost when poured out in the forest. In the end of another, a huntsman cuts Red and Granny out of the wolf's belly as he sleeps; they then fill him with stones, sew him up, and drop him in a well to drown. This end to the wolf stands for sterility through the representation of a crude hysterectomy. My Beast paintings were done in an analytical sense. As though he was under observation from the point of Beauty's departure to his end. Originally I wanted to have just one large painting to deal with this story but during the process of creating it, I realized that one painting is not enough to explain fully the magnitude of his sheer dependence. I have therefore included a few of the studies I did when attempting to portray this emotion. In the actual story Beauty returs and he recovers from his depression from her absence, however, my Beast withers away and dies. Beauty is not shown in my paintings because she, herself, is irrelevant. The focus of these paintings is sheer dependence. It does not matter for what or who my Beast is longing for, only that he eventual[ly] dies from the loneliness. All his bulk and ferocity pales to nothingness in comparison to need.

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