: Oblations

Oblations in Aureate, Argent, and Acrylic. Mixed Media. 2014.

This series of paintings was inspired by my introduction to joss paper during my travels to Asia from 2010 onwards.  I was struck by the highly stylized rituals with their deep and ancient significance.  This was very clearly contrasted with the mundanity with which the papers were printed en masse, and for each careful temple-goer who laid the bamboo paper with reverence, there were other visitors who busily scattered offerings and quickly set incense alight and had barely the time to bow their head in prayer.

To me, the joss money has the incongruous peculiarities of being both guardedly respected and embedded with powerful superstition while simultaneously being printed by the millions using the cheapest papers and colors that could be found to simulate expense. These Oblations, or offerings, mirror this paradox by overtly displaying the inexpensiveness of their substrate, overlaid with idiosyncratic layers of color and ink implying a devout logic in their design. I imagine a priestly or monastic class that formed these oblations as public exhibitions of piety and mystically inspired depictions of the esoteric. The deeper meaning behind each of the pieces is to remain as mysterious as the Eastern rituals were to me.