DESERT RELIGION

A Solo Exhibit in Painting & Puppetry

 

This series of paintings (and puppet show) focus on the act of going out into the “wilderness.” It is believed by many religions, such as my own , that special information has been conveyed by powerful unseen forces when one saturates in this ambiguous space.  I liken this act to a pivotal moment in Christianity: Satan’s temptations of Jesus in the wilderness.  Likewise The Desert Fathers left civilized, Imperial  Christianity to form the first monastic orders in the wilderness of Colonial Rome.

I  don’t feel a spiritual connection to this land despite having dwelled in it. I’ve been outdoors mainly out of utility, not desire, being a desert-dweller in name only most of my life. Taking this for granted, I started to notice my surroundings more clearly when I let my studio become a naively-conceived “sweat lodge,” to go out in the wilderness of ideas, to let out the impurities of my own insecurity about nature and to let in strange ideas about God.  Many of them are unfamiliar to most, be they Apocryphal or composites of my own invention. All of them will haunt me. 

In this spirit, DESERT RELIGION playfully explores some stereotyped symbols of the Southwestern desert: the cactus, the landscape genre painting, Kokopelli. I have intentionally lowered the horizon in these scenes so the emphasis is on that elusive, ephemeral sky-land connection, that tether that seems tenuous when you spend enough time in the wilderness, wherever that might be.

 

~Dain Quentin Gore

August 20th 2010