I just finished this submission for the "Remastered: Contemporary Interpretations of Masterworks" show at Studio One Eight in Washington D.C. The image posted here features my piece "She Slew Him With Sling and Stone" (right) as well as the renaissance artist Donatello's David Sculpture. Below is my artist statement about the piece:
According to the Bible, God had chosen the youngest of eight sons to be the new king of Israel. Samuel sought out the boy David and God bestowed upon him his blessings. Threatened by the onslaught of the Philistine army and confident that God will protect him, David volunteered to battle Goliath, a mighty Philistine soldier who taunted and threatened the armies of Israel. David confronted the Goliath on the battlefield wearing no armor and armed with only stones and a sling. David defeated the giant by striking him on the forehead with one stone. He proceeded to behead his opponent using Goliath’s own sword.
Donatello’s freestanding sculpture reiterates this narrative by reinventing the classical nude in the form of a boy – petite, sinuous, and slightly feminine in build. The facial expression exhibited is one of both pride and self-awareness. David’s gaze is not focused on Goliath’s head, but rather back on himself. It is as if after the heroic deed, David realizes the vitality and strength of his own body. This celebration of self-discovery is a prominent theme in renaissance art.
“She Slew Him With Sling and Stone” focuses on two essential aspects of Donatello’s sculpture: the allusion to a sensuous feminine form, and the treatment of a freestanding figure in a painterly landscape.
David’s body is revised and reshaped to depict a young woman as the heroine in this story. I’ve always been intrigued by the beauty of the female figure and portraying a woman as a strong, confident, and skillful character. I’m interested in exploring the conventional ‘David and Goliath’ story in our contemporary world. What women have overcome enormous odds and obstacles in order achieve what they believe in? Who is the Goliath in this case? Is it one man or a society governed by male interests and agenda? When does humility and faith overcome physical strength and might?
Secondly, after viewing Michelangelo’s David sculpture in Florence, I asked the question “What is David’s space?” I am interested in depicting a context for the subject, a ground for the figure. How can a painting further inform the viewer in terms of the place and context of an event? How can the background landscape compliment the figure?