Mayan Rites


    These diverse works span a fifty year time period. The key work of the suite is the small painting done in Japan entitled Mayan Rites Genesis (#1) was done while my late wife Jackie and I were living in Kyoto, Japan. We lived there from the years 1958 until 1992. I had the feeling that this piece was suggestive of the topography of ancient Mayan temple ruins; dwellings on a steep mountain side and strange and mysterious happenings on the hillside. I did a large painting based on Genesis (#1) while still in Japan, but since it was not feasible to bring it back to the States at the time, I gave it away to one of my late wife’s students. As in the case of several of my major paintings, I needed many years of incubation of the idea before I could deal with a large scale work again.

    In 1989, during this incubation period, I had the opportunity to make prints, based on the Genesis (#1) work. This was in collaboration with a gifted graduate student, Tamara Petrov*, who had served a long apprenticeship in printmaking at her undergraduate art school in the former Yugoslavia. The three etchings were all developed on a single plate. These are Mayan Rites #2, #3, and #4. The progression was first the simple etching (#2), then the intaglio (#3) with just black ink, and finally the color intaglio (#4).

    The large painting, Mayan Rites #5, was completed in 2005 and was based on the 1959 piece Mayan Rites Genesis (#1). The color changed radically but I adhered to the original composition pretty faithfully. It was done with alkyd/oil on heavy linen canvas and the darks applied mainly with paint stick. Charcoal (fixed) was used for much of the linear elements.

*Tamara Petrov is the subject of my painting The Girl In The White Dress which is on this website under Retrospective.