This cycle of paintings is a meditation on grief and loss.  The imagery takes its starting point from the tragic story of Orpheus and Eurydice.  In the myth, the great musician Orpheus descends into the underworld in hopes of bringing back from death his bride Eurydice, who died of snakebite on the night of their wedding.  Despite the power of his songs, he cannot bring her back to the living world.  It is a story about mourning, and about the limitations of art.

 

In these pieces, two figures costumed in the loose, vaguely classical garments of Maxfield Parrish maidens enact film stills from a non-linear ghost story, playing out tableaus of grief and longing.  In the bright silver pieces “The Dream” and “Tempest”, the figures are islands of color and solidity in the bleak no-place of deserted beach.  Scatters of prismatic glitter shoot rainbow sparks across the blown-out brilliance of the sky.  A tender embrace turns to obsessive clutching and restraint, the sunny day turns harsh and dazzling.  In “Visitation” and “See Mystery Lights”, the loosely rendered figures barely emerge out of the darkness, disappearing when light reflects off the dark surface.  The glitter functions as a screen that alternately prettifies and obscures the tragedy that underlies it.   The ghost of the beloved hovers on the verge of shivering back into particles of abstract color, or dissolving into the shadows of the garden.

© 2016 by Jamie Vasta.  Created with Wix.com

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Eurydice

48" x 60", glitter on panel, 2016