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Gloria Mundi by whitefantom (print image)


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Artist's Statement

I wanted to paint rust and concrete.

Honestly, that was the only point this painting had when I started on it. I've been on a concrete-and-rusty-metal kick for a while now, thanks to Ursula Vernon's "Gearworld" paintings (and much of her other work--she can make me feel blissfully inspired and utterly inadequate at the same time...). I have another painting that I've been working on for quite some time that involves crumbling conrete, rusty pipes and gears, dripping rust stains, etc., but I got frustrated with it a while back and have yet to be in the mood to finish it. But I wanted to paint rust and concrete, gosh darnit! So in a weekend fit of painting, I did this...thingy. This apparently uber-symbolic, deep, thought-provoking thingy. But all I wanted to do was paint rust and concrete, I swear!

When I was nearly done with the painting and was trying to figure out what I would call it, I realized it has the look of being some kind of symbolic representation, probably of something terribly dire and philosophical. So I puzzled on what it could be, and I decided that I wanted a Latin phrase inscribed on the gear. So I went searching for Latin quotations, hoping one would strike me as being connected with this painting. I found a few, but this one struck me as being the best fit. The Latin phrase is "Sic transit gloria mundi," which means "So passes the glory of the world."

What I came to feel this painting represents is mankind's pride in its own works, man's insistence on clinging to the material and believing human civilization and ingenuity to be the pinnacle of the universe--man's arrogance in himself and his own creations. Ultimately, all of these crumble, fall, and return to dust, no matter how permanent we may believe them to be. I go further, myself, and extended this meaning to encompass man's reliance upon himself and his own works rather than on God, man's attempt to replace God with man-made cities and civilizations and laws, all of which crumble and fall away, while God alone remains. To me, this painting represents the misplaced faith of mankind in himself and the world around him rather than in God.

However, as beliefs of this nature do vary, don't feel obligated to include that bit in your own interpretation simply because that's what the artist sees in it--I strongly believe that art is a collaboration between the creator and the viewer, and your input is just as valuable as mine. Make of this what you wish. Or make nothing of it at all--maybe to you it's just a nifty thingy with concrete and rusty metal...which would probably be the closest to its original significance anyway! :-)

(June 2005; Sketched and painted in Painter 9)

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