Course of Empire

Course of Empire

A triptych based on Thomas Cole’s Course of Empire. A quick explanation is that Cole painted a series of five paintings depicting the rise and fall of mankind on Earth. He went about it in a very classical sense where I took a completely different road. In my assemblage, the first shows Earth whole and healthy elevated over a clean black Plexiglas background representing the planet as it was before man existed. The center piece has the Earth broken into nine pieces over a background made from computer boards corresponding to the peak of technology and civilization when we have nearly destroyed our home. One thing that makes this piece special is that the computer memory boards used here are real boards that were obsoleted from the computers used in the production of Methyl Isocyanate (MIC). MIC is an ingredient used to create certain pesticides and is the chemical responsible for killing at least 3,000 people, and injuring around a half million more in Bhopal, India on December 2nd, 1984. Finally, in the last part, the Earth is only in four pieces floating over a field of randomly cut pieces of rusted metal illustrating that the planet is still scarred, but has begun to heal after the downfall of the human race.

This work was a very important step in my growth because it helped me focus my theme on the time after mankind has forced the planet to do away with them. I became really interested in the idea behind that last part of the triptych as well as what Cole entitled Desolation. All of my Natural Deselection series paintings were based on this very concept. The idea that the planet would eventually get tired of our pollution and exploitation of its resources and finally do away with us is what drove me. I realized that after we are gone, we would leave behind all these ruins that nature could then utilize as new environments for new species to evolve free from the interference of humans.