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Category Archives: Joshua Flint

New Painting: Axis Mundi 30 | Jul






I'd like to share a new painting, a study, and my thoughts.

*Axis Mundi*, 60” x 84”, oil on canvas, 2019. ©Joshua Flint
[image: IMG_4394.jpg]

*Study for Axis Mundi, watercolor, 14"x 17", 2018*
[image: Axis Mundi Study.jpeg]

The title, *Axis Mundi, *references the philosophical idea of the perceived
center of the world. The location where the land and sky meet where lower
and upper realms communicate. Unlike many cultural traditions that view an
elevated geographical feature or object as a symbol of this connectivity,
my painting follows in the footsteps of art history with Leonardo Da
Vinci’s *Vetruvian Man *containing the idea of the human body as
representative of this convergence. In my painting there is a convergence
between the set of young woman (and their table), the alligators, and the
standing figure, much like the funneling from tree canopy to roots, and
vice versa. The interaction of humans with serpents has long been depicted
in art history, from Raphael’s *St. Margaret*(1518) to Guido Cagnacci’s *The
Death of Cleopatra*(1660), up to the present day with many versions in
popular film. The painting becomes a modern day myth following in line with
these historical and contemporary antecedents. (Artwork mentioned above
included at the end. There are many antecedents but I chose these three as
my examples.)



The Axis Mundi story is one of a number of stories invented and told to
explain the world throughout the history of civilization. The painting is
the embodiment of personal mythology combined with factual events to
properly represent how we create an identity. These stories are catalogued
for future tellings and shape who we are and who we become. The
“fantastical” choice for the palette reflects the nature of memory, which
is laden with exaggerated, inaccurate, or unnervingly specific hues of
color. These colors take on more significance as we draw on a memory,
reinforcing our attachment to that event. The lens of color can shift our
entire emotional system into unexpected terrain and, ultimately, shaping
and reshaping our own sense of self. A human isn't a stable 'thing' but a
happening. The painting presents a version of this idea.



On a human level the young woman are experiencing the sublime, the balance
between the rush of being alive in a dangerous situation while exhibiting a
sense of agency and control, which is imposed by the faceless
guardian. The alligators take on realistic and abstracted forms, where
unexpected applications of paint give way to proper depiction, imbuing the
uncanny or mystical to their presence.


Leonardo Da Vinci, *Vetruvian Man*, circa 1490
[image: 662px-Da_Vinci_Vitruve_Luc_Viatour.jpg]


Raphael, *St. Margaret*, 1518
[image: Raffael_101.jpg]


Guido Cagnacci, *The Death of Cleopatra, *1660
[image: 713e9O0qhAL._SX466_.jpg]


Thank you for allowing me share my thoughts on the origination of my recent
painting, *Axis Mundi*.


If you are interested in the painting or the study please contact the
gallery.


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