May 21 to July 5, 1998
No ideas come out of the void. The Eden paintings are a direct outcome of the Alhambra series, which are based on that wonderful garden in Granada. The new works are flowers blooming from seeds sown by the previous paintings, which have germinated in the mind. Their exact shape and colour is always a surprise, like an unexpected gift. This is the exciting part of creation, a heady feeling of a new world growing and blooming on the canvas.
Last summer, as lush Oriental poppies transformed my garden into a small paradise my thoughts turned to that mythical place, we always remember and long for. I looked up the word Eden in the dictionary and this is what I found “Eden, Hebrew ‘eden’; literally pleasure, delight.” But where was Eden? Did it ever exist? And isn’t our earth the only garden we have? Isn’t it up to us to fill it with pleasure and delight? Are there any angles or other such creatures to do it for us?
As I started painting the poppies with bold, gestural , brush strokes, allowing the paint to dribble and run down the canvas, I realized that, in fact, Eden was ours to make and the only angels who help us were ourselves!
My angels have very human faces. They are whimsical, happy, and ironic; they look at the vibrant poppies so full of vitality and seem to say: “You have the gift of this wonderful planet, take good care of it!” While underlined at times by subtle warning, these angels are about pleasure and delight, enjoyment of beauty and a will to look at the positive side of life.
The poppies symbolize the vital life force. Their unfolding petals burse into bloom but for a short moment of total beauty and vibrancy, while their dark seeds hide a constant search for a heavenly place of no return.
In my 60th year, I have come to accept the fact that paradise is an elusive goal; I can only keep up the search. If, through my paintings, I could bring pleasure and joy to the people who care to spend a few minutes in their company, I should be fulfilled.
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