What is the central idea of your concentration?
The central idea of my concentration is religion and the contrast and balance between the benevolence of their afterlife and the harsh, immoral actions of people within the stories of their religion. I wanted to explore the positive and negative sides of each religion and from an external perspective on religion, support the idea that the horrific and lecherous stories are used to teach a lesson.
How does the work in your concentration demonstrate the exploration of your idea?
I painted two works for each of the six religions I studied. After studying each religion I chose specific aspects of each style to integrate into my works. The composition of work 12 was influenced by many Baroque works. Work 5 has over 20 symbols within Taoist culture, representing wisdom, prosperity, peace, and enlightenment. Each set includes my interpretation of the heaven, afterlife, or celestial beings of each religion. Work 11 shows the Seraphim, Cherubs, and the four living creatures Eziekiel describes in his vision of heaven. In the back is the Garden of Eden, showing the distance between God’s ideal earth and the actual perfect heaven. These are followed by a depiction of a tale or story important to each religion. Some show more concrete stories found in the texts of the religion such as work 12, which is the story of Abraham sacrificing Isaac in God’s name and the angel stopping him. Work 8 shows Anubis weighing the heart and soul of someone trying to enter the afterlife. However, some are my own interpretations of the religious stories based on my own research; such as work 6, where the Tara goddesses convey the Buddhist philosophy of uniting compassion (represented by a male deity) and wisdom (represented by a female deity), often depicted in a sexual embrace, with suggestive poses and sultry looks.
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