Adam Caldwell

    • 18 x 24 inches
    • © 2014
    • Oil on Canvas
    • Framed
  • Persephone is the daughter of Zeus and the harvest goddess Demeter and queen of the underworld. Homer describes her as the formidable, venerable majestic queen of the underworld, who carries into effect the curses of men upon the souls of the dead. Persephone was abducted by Hades, the god-king of the underworld. The myth of her abduction represents her function as the personification of vegetation, which shoots forth in spring and withdraws into the earth after harvest; hence, she is also associated with spring as well as the fertility of vegetation. Similar myths appear in the Orient, in the cults of male gods like Attis, Adonis and Osiris, and in Minoan Crete.

    Persephone as a vegetation goddess and her mother Demeter were the central figures of the Eleusinian mysteries that predated the Olympian pantheon and promised to the initiated a more enjoyable prospect after death. Persephone is further said to have become by Zeus the mother of Dionysus, Iacchus, or Zagreus, usually in orphic tradition. The origins of her cult are uncertain, but it was based on very old agrarian cults of agricultural communities.

    Persephone was commonly worshipped along with Demeter and with the same mysteries. To her alone were dedicated the mysteries celebrated at Athens in the month of Anthesterion. In Classical Greek art, Persephone is invariably portrayed robed, often carrying a sheaf of grain. She may appear as a mystical divinity with a sceptre and a little box, but she was mostly represented in the act of being carried off by Hades.
  • "My paintings and drawings juxtapose elements of abstract expressionism and classical figuration. During my training at the California College of Arts and Crafts, I began to create collage drawings that layered disparate images on top of one another; I now use oil paint in a similar way, starting with an abstract background and then adding more photorealistic details, allowing the work to dictate its own construction. The resulting palimpsest of figures and abstract shapes represents the conflicted and paradoxical emotions that underlie my work. My paintings evoke the tensions between mind and body, self and other, present and past. They also raise questions about the nature of identity, particularly concerning issues of gender and sexuality. I am deeply concerned about the world around me, and my work reflects my reactions to social issues such as war and consumerism by contrasting images from American advertisements and popular culture with images of rituals from around the world.

    The eclectic nature of my work reflects my wide range of interests and influences. My figurative painting and drawing has been influenced by the realistic yet expressive work of Odd Nerdrum, Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud, Antonio López García, Jenny Saville, and Barron Storey, whom I studied under at CCAC. Theories of consciousness by philosophers such as Gilles Deleuze have also informed my art work. I am inspired by my grandfather, author Erskine Caldwell, and his commitment to representing the unseen and marginalized members of our society. I am also heavily influenced by music, movies, and comics, all of which have shaped my identity. I am an accomplished guitarist and martial artist, and these disciplines also inform my artistic perspective.

    One of my most important areas of inspiration is the community of artists I surround myself with. Painting in particular can be a very lonely and isolating practice, so I make a point to attend drawing groups and I share studio space with David Choong Lee. Although the process can be solitary, I paint to commune with others and allow them entrance into my interiority. Painting connects me to my world and times and culture. I always hope to create work that will invoke in someone else the feelings I have had before great art."
  • This piece will be on exhibit through July 5, 2014 and will be shipped within a week of the exhibition closing date. Shipping costs will be invoiced separately at the time of shipment for this piece. For a detailed shipping price quote, please contact the gallery . If you would like to arrange a gallery pickup, just add a note when checking out and we will contact you to schedule a time.

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