J. Antonio FARFAN
Series; The Garden of Even
30 x 40 in. (76.2 x 101.6 cm)
14 x 11in. (35.6 x 27.9 cm)
Acrylic, oil, pigment and gold leaf on linen
Then the Lord God cast a deep sleep upon Adam: and when he was fast asleep, he took one of his ribs, and filled up flesh for it. And the Lord God built the rib which he took from Adam into a woman: and brought her to Adam.
Douay Rheims, Genesis 2:21-22
The painting was begun in 2014 as a depiction of a single photographic moment. an obvious expanse of a landscape blurred by the motion of a moving vehicle and a dark void resulting from passing a tree closer to the camera lens. Nothing about the initial painting alluded to its present existence other than the fact that the void continued to exist as a powerful and seemingly disconnected part of the painting.
An artist’s vocabulary isn’t always fully defined. Forms that may initially seem superfluous and disconnected later find meaning. The artist is intuitive and what is often initially superficial later becomes a vital component of a larger system.
The path of the painting titled Particle Illustrates this very idea; that a painting can begin as a superficial yet beautiful depiction of a photograph to become a complete four year manifestation of a larger meaning. In this case, a once blurred image found its way onto a canvas to become the moment of birth and transformation where Eve is created from the body of Adam.
An amorphous band of dark, rich color dominates the two part painting and creates a void whose invisible meaning rests until a contemplative viewer realizes its an active part of the whole. In the allegory of Adam and Eve, Adam sleeps while God extracts a rib from his body to create a woman to be his partner. In the painting, trails of dark color strong enough to create the experience of horizontal movement dominate the scene. A once disconnected void comes to define the actions of God Himself. The viewer participates in the motion and action of the hand reaching in to remove a rib. Once out of the immediate plane the concentric circles that define one of the artists sacred feminine symbols transform into a less stylized version of that same universe. The symbols and perception change and the action become one of complete transformation. The microcosmic image of an ovum and a universe becomes a separate and powerful image of a female joined to the now complete Adam.
While the painting has two stylistically different parts they both correspond with the elements of the story in Genesis. A rib is but a part of a human being and is painted as a separate and smaller part of the whole. By sheer description of its being a universe the gold encased image becomes equally as powerful and certainly not bound by the limited descriptions of human measurement. The transformative experience to the viewer is the realization that the gold and ultramarine blues define an entire universe that once rested in the bosom of Adam as a tiny concentric circle. The contemplative exercise becomes one of active participation.