The Angel of Mercy
Immediately after the failure of the referendum to legalise abortion in the Catholic stronghold Portugal, in 1998, Portuguese-British artist Paula Rego painted her abortion series. The series had an immense contributing impact on public opinion and the success of the second referendum in 2007 through which surgical procedure was legalized for terminations under certain circumstances.
The world lost Portuguese-British visual artist Paula Rego (87 years) on 8 June 2022. And almost immediately the world witnessed the US Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade (50 years) on 24 June 2022. Just as Rego’s death isn’t for the art world to mourn alone, the overturning of Roe v. Wade tests the global conscience.
Les Sorcières (The Witches)
This time at Ptenopus’ Triviality headquarters, we picked up a painting from the collection of Argentinian artist Leonor Fini (1907-1996). The 1959 painting titled Les Sorcières (The Witches) shows a bunch of witches out and about carouseling in the blood-stained night. We stumbled upon the artwork at the same time when news came out about a coven of powerful witches in Ukraine performing rituals to punish and oust Vladimir Putin for his invasion of Ukraine. As fire burns and cauldrons bubble, we are reminded of how unfettered desires, whether to conquer or to punish, spare none. Be it Macbeth or Putin, one cannot deny that invoking the supernatural has always been intimately connected with war. Could one really say that canons and cauldrons are a thing of the past?
P.S. Fini created this painting for the Mexican diva María Félix, who held the entirety of Latin America’s silver screen under her spell! And with the ongoing war it might do good to remember the time Félix said, “In a world of men like this, I want to warn you to be careful.”
Spokes for the Wheel of Torment
When Syd Garon got down to creating a fifteen second test animation for Buckethead’s new album, The Cuckoo Clocks of Hell, little did he or Buckethead know that they had both been inspired by the same Old master—one of the most imaginative of the Netherlandish Renaissance, Hieronymus Bosch. Their point of convergence lay in the track “Spokes for the Wheel of Torment.” The album, released in 2004, includes it as its second track, one of the few Buckethead songs for which a music video has been made.