Splinters of Civilization
Influenced by ancient frescoes and mosaics, these works are astonishingly contemporary and so familiar to us in their expression or action scenes. People today share the same virtues, dreams, desires, emotions, fears and secrets that have always been, are, and will be, for eternity.
The restoration process is done by filling the empty areas with cement to preserve the remainder of the work; these canvases are created as an imitation of old frescoes or mosaics with cement fillers as it is done in museums. The result creates fragments of life and evokes multiple meanings of a universal being.
Circles of Ruins
A study of emotions dealing with human virtues; or rather, the human virtues examined through human emotions and then presented as a generalized image of a political, historical or a social statement.
Cassandra depicts the emotions of a woman who is striving to be heard, a voice calling for help, and yet there is no one to hear her.
The image of the Dictator has intrigued me for a long time. Who are such men? Men who overpower; men who make history, men with the vision and fanatical desire, absence of compassion, yet possession of warm emotions toward themselves, and a superior inner strength. The image is seen from a personal perspective: I used my father as a model of a study of a dictator. The canvas Ave Maria is my struggling pain over the Holocaust.
Theater of the Absurd
The insanity of the world is easier to accept if looked at with a degree of humor.
The belief that human existence has no meaning or purpose is the main philosophy of Absurdism that was originally a Paris-based avant-garde movement. Theater of the Absurd in a sense is mans reaction to a world apparently without meaning, and/or man as a puppet controlled or menaced by invisible outside forces. Absurdism is also frequently compared to Surrealism. It can also be associated with Existentialism. Many of the Absurdists were contemporaries with Jean-Paul Sartre, the philosophical spokesman for Existentialism in Paris, whose philosophy is expressed in Being and Nothingness.
It focuses on human beings trapped in an incomprehensible world. The theme of incomprehensibility is coupled with the inadequacy of language to form meaningful human connections. Absurdism is "the inevitable devaluation of ideals, purity, and purpose." Absurdist drama asks its viewer to "draw his own conclusions, make his own errors. Though the Theatre of the Absurd may be seen as nonsense, it has something to say and can be understood.
Nostalgic romanticism of things passed that can return only as memories.
Archeology seldom measures emotion. These ancient marks remain amongst lost temple ruins, as Cassandra moment is forever drifting in defiance of time itself. Observe faint traces, perhaps note that this place was sacred, but you cannot always see through the veil that adorns the ruined splendor now spread as artifacts across the ancient desert.
Seek your own pilgrimage, sometimes a moment, sometimes a lifetime. Your pilgrimage presently brings you here, to this place, to these ruins. And for the moment the ruins seem animate, rising from the dust, and fleeting moments linger, then fade again, for legend recites that in this temple Cassandra once viewed beyond the pathway of fate and oblivion all mortals suffer and pierced through the veil of illusion.
Perhaps her sacred moment is shared, for in dreams the soul travels without dimension. In the journey traveled the body emulates imagination and momentum. The pilgrim seeks solace in a sacred destination. The gypsy soul lives for the journey alone. Destinations unfold as expectation becomes remembrance. The traveler never returns to the same point of beginning. Perhaps the soul keeps its own charts in a world of perpetual motion. We draw our lives as a full circle measured on an infinite scale as we journey each our single path, perhaps at times together, perhaps more than apart, with few marks left behind to mark the journey.
Prince Dmitry was the son of Ivan the Terrible. Legend describes him to be cruel and prone to fits of rage. History has it that the youthful prince was in turn killed by a pretender to the throne Boris Godunov, who dispatches the young prince to consolidate power and to rule. Boris reign was wrought with murder as currency during his rule.
Stalin had two sons, one of good character and one who was also drawn to the power and despotism of his father, Vasily, also displayed similar character. This speaks of the proverb that the apple does not fall far from the tree.
The question then is presented, when history teaches of treacherous blood and despotic legacy, can the crimes of history beget unintended benevolence?
This is a study of the personality of a dictator, where power becomes virtue without conscience, and personal dominion consumes all.
Who are these people, who, despite their own failings of character or restraint of morality, become catalysts for historical chaos and change? Such irony is manifested in the dictators' drive to create order based on a personal agenda without foundation in natural law or social contract, such order leading to greater chaos, and in the creation of their own legacy, inevitable destruction.
Each example of the tyrant/ dictator arrives and leaves history both broken and redefined, the discord of such tyranny left to be studied by thinkers and writers. Some, such as Gabriel Garcia Marquez, attempt to assess the dictator on both a domestic and historical scale. History brings perspective. There are natural laws that always prevail from which society can both recover and in time take its measure of the despotic storm and its devastation. I cite my own father for this study, who was at once both master of all those within his sphere of influence yet also enslaved to his own character. He had all the qualities and vices of a dictator. His inner strength was bigger than his humanity, but his weaknesses coexisted with sentimentality.
After the demolition of Berlin wall there was a rise of fascism that insulted all who understood what had once been, and what now prevailed, as life in East Germany.
I appreciated the rich culture of Germany, in its music, literature and art. I could not ignore the voices of oppression that leapt forward to replace those of the former East German regime. This painting was a visceral reaction to the resurgence of such oppressive forces. A few years later I was happy to see a reversed trend; a large crowd enjoyed a classical quartet in the park and a group of skinhead fascist's competed for attention as if spoiled children. The crowds found their morality in the music and the moment, stood up to them and, in a victorious gesture ostracized them. Mozart succeeded. Art illuminates.
I reach down and take from the ground a small stone;
Clasping the stone I make a wish.
For I am also a portion of earth, somehow of kindred connection to this small stone;
I search the horizon to glance at the moon, if only to measure the sky and perhaps to cast skyward my wish.
I hear a single breeze move past me to become in the moment a chorus of wind, in harmony with my stride. At times the chorus is shared in the company of a few other travelers. I mark my path and walk my pace through mountains, forests, and beyond,
To know journeys once spent in flight across a thousand days of youth without any sign of time and age.
So I write this note with my quill dipped into an inkwell filled with each day's living. My wishes are sometimes heard, sometimes spoken in moments of prayer, always etched into the parchment of time and memory. Summer, fall and winter thence shall find me, as I look towards the sky to measure the dawn's morning and sunset's evening.
The days are getting shorter though the path seems to go forever;
I take solace glancing upward to measure the sky; holding for the moment my wishing stone.
This is a statement on the Holocaust. Few words truly fathom how I feel. The small girl in red is an embodiment of my belief that we are all impacted, each of us orphaned, each of us remnants of a greater family that has been forever lost.
My hope is that collective memory will prevent such evil for all time. "Ars revelat veritas."
© Mila Strugatsky