Artwork Mondays: D.N.A.-Candle Vanitas III


I've blogged about my DNA-Candle Vanitas paintings before, but perhaps I should explain again.

Here is what I said in my first post about this series of images:
Vanitas painting is an old tradition, especially popular in the Northern Renaissance. Usually, it is a still life, depicting perhaps a skull, a broken watch, a candle just snuffed out with the smoke trailing in the air, a book half-read, a tipped over water glass....Pieter Claesz, trained by Franz Hals, is one of my favourite masters of this art style.

The image is one of mortality, with a kind of knock-you-over-the-head symbolism. The message intended is a kind of carpe diem, or "seize the day".

After reading about how telomeres may play a part in the aging process, and that their ends snip off when they replicate, I started coming up with the DNA Candle image. I remember reading something in the 90's that suggested if one could extend telomeres, one may be able to stave off death. The candle melting and the telomere shortening just seemed a natural image. I used DNA as a wick since it is more readily recognisable by most people.

So the ultimate message of the DNA Candle Vanitas is one of seize the day, life is beautiful but finite. The candles are lit and glowing, a loving image and the wax has melted together in union.
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This dramatically purple Vanitas was created for Nevin Douglas and Anya Vena for their wedding, two very artistically talented people, and very good friends of mine.

I've known Nevin for years, and he is an amazingly talented guitarist and songwriter. Nevin used to play in the band Debaser, and can now be heard playing around Toronto as part of the experimental rock outfit, Thee 9am Social. Check out their tracks on their MySpace page!

Anya has a powerful voice, and is the vocalist in the popular Toronto indie band, Personal Circus. Don't miss their shows, Anya's showmanship on stage is compelling and entertaining.

Both these bands have the speed and licks that make it easier for me to paint. If you are in the Toronto area, make sure to check their pages for future shows. I painted the Vanitas with a deep purple that to me, feels like it resonates with the power of Anya's voice, and the painting contains the dark speed of Nevin's guitar.
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