All Our Fallen Have Fallen in Rain
Left panel: 4' x 7',
Center panel: 5' x 7',
Right panel: 4' x 7'
Soon to be installed in the U.S. Embassy, Abuja, Nigeria
Photos courtesy Mallory Cremin
The subject of the triptych is an immense thunderstorm overcoming a mountain landscape. The storm cloud is an exaggerated cumulonimbus, powerful bringer of thunder, lightning, wind and rain, a dancing Shiva of destruction and renewal. Meteorologists estimate that a single storm cloud of this type may contain the energy of ten nuclear bombs. On one level, my intention is to suggest the awesome power of nature and our helplessness in comparison.
On another level, the triptych is a memorial meant as a response to loss and a hope for rebirth. Among the many friends and loved ones who have passed during the past few years was my friend Michael Kabotie, the Hopi artist and poet who taught at Idyllwild Arts for many summers. From Michael I learned the traditional Hopi belief that the dead return in the form of rain. My work is in no way meant to appropriate a Hopi concept but rather to honor the universal metaphor available to all of us. As all beings have briefly flashed and will flash in transition, so is there the suggestion of innumerable colored raindrops inside this storm cloud. In a sense, the spirits of all who have ever lived are within it.
Triptychs enjoy a long history in the art of the west and were frequently employed as altarpieces. Although the traditional Christian altarpiece was filled with religious symbols, meant to focus the viewer on a world to come, mine is intended to celebrate a more secular mythos, although no less devotional.