For an image of the huge “Truelove” painting (1.3 x 2.9 metres) see: http://www.flickr.com/photos/gideonpolya/4289097962/ .
Gideon Polya, “Woman & Truelove. Sacred & Profane”, MWC News, 27 November 2006, partly cached by Google
Woman & Truelove. Sacred & Profane
MWC News editor Gideon Polya has painted a huge painting called “Truelove” in which he explores a fundamental dichotomy in WOMAN i.e. the Sacred and the Profane. This painting incorporates 16 female figures that derive from all around the World i.e. it is Universalist as well as Feminist in intent. The geometrical scaffolding of the painting is based upon a Double Golden Rectangle that incorporates classical Greek and Renaissance symbols that are both Sacred and Profane (described in my article in MWC News entitled “Sacred & Profane: REAL Da Vinci Code Exposed). The fundamental message (unfortunately lost on racist, homicidal, matricidal and paedocidal neocon and ziocon warmongers) is that Woman is Sacred (Woman is unique and bears, loves and nurtures Children) but is also necessarily Profane and alluring (and without which there would be no conception outside of IVF clinics).
I am a scientist and used to defining the range of reality by “boundary conditions” or the “extremes” of reality. Thus on Planet Earth we have water-based Life based on mostly water-soluble metabolites and evolutionarily mutable macromolecules (big molecules) such as DNA, RNA and proteins. The “boundary conditions” for Life on Earth are 0 degrees Centigrade and 100 degrees Centigrade. Thus at normal atmospheric pressure, at and below 0 degrees Centigrade water molecules are linked in a rigid, motionless crystalline array (ice) by “hydrogen bonds” and Life is at best simply dormant. At and above 100 degrees Centigrade the weak hydrogen bonds are broken and water exists as a gas (steam) and water-based Life is impossible. Between these boundaries dynamic Life is possible. Some organisms can maintain dynamic life at temperatures near the freezing point of water through anti-freezing proteins; at the other end of the scale, thermophilic bacteria exist in volcanic hot springs at temperatures approaching the boiling point of water through the evolution of thermostable proteins that can resist “denaturation” (or irreversible, destructive unfolding) at such high temperatures. In between we have organisms with a range of “boundary conditions” for survival e.g. Man survives within very narrow temperature limits around 37 degrees Centigrade.
In our perceptions of Woman we have a range of views between the “boundary conditions” of the utterly pure and Sacred Virgin Mary and Immaculate Conception on the one hand (as portrayed in numerous iconic paintings surviving from about the 4th century AD onwards) and at the other extreme the profoundly offensive objectification of Woman as in “sex dolls” (allegedly first invented by the Nazis) and to varying degrees in much contemporary culture from Hollywood and Madison Avenue to hardcore pornography. In between we have the reality of the Woman who is always Sacred as a unique Human Being and because she bears, loves, nurtures and raises Children – but who is necessarily Profane (i.e. not Sacred) because She must be sexually interested and interesting (i.e. alluring) for conception to take place outside the laboratory.
This Sacred and Profane duality of Woman is associated with male and female behaviours that have evolved genetically (through the evolution of genes) and socially (through the passing on of acquired cultural behaviours or “memes” in the language of Richard Dawkins in his book “The Selfish Gene”). Thus the evolution of intelligence in Homo sapiens has meant the birth of infants when their developing head is small and the subsequent long-term commitment of the Mother to her enlarging, helpless Infant (see Timothy Taylor “The Prehistory of Sex”). The Female (through genes and memes) is intrinsically Monogamous because she needs the Father to help feed, protect and nurture the Infant. However from a “selfish gene” perspective, the Male has a more ambiguous position that tends to Polygamy – thus Polygamy spreads his genes more widely in terms of conception although Monogamy clearly promotes the survival of his offspring.
These dichotomies are reflected in the title and nature of my painting “Truelove”. This is a very large painting (1.3 meters x 2.9 meters) and for such large paintings some kind of underlying scaffolding (or underlying geometrical plan) is often needed. The underlying scaffolding of my painting is a Double Golden Rectangle between well-defined upper and lower boundaries and indeed exactly the same as that employed in my painting “Qana” (about the recent destruction of Qana in Lebanon by Israel) which in turn was based conceptually and geometrically on Pablo Picasso’s 1937 anti-war masterpiece “Guernica”.
In short, the Golden Rectangle geometry (beloved of Ancient Greeks and Ancient Egyptians and of painters since the Italian Renaissance) has an implicit Fibonacci Sequence (0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34 …) in which successive numbers are the sum of the previous two and which defines a huge spiral. This construction in which the Length (L) is exactly Phi (1.618) times the Width (W), is achieved by the overlap of two circles confined exactly within separate squares in a rectangle – when the Circles overlap at exactly the right position (the Golden Section or Divine Ratio dividing the Golden Rectangle), intersection of the Circles with the diagonals of the Squares generates 2 beautiful 4-leafed flowers – the Golden Flowers or “Truelove” pattern.
“Truelove” (or Paris quadrifiolia) is a European 4-petalled flower which in Medieval times had both a Sacred and Profane symbolism: sacred (for the Cross and for the Father, Son, Holy Ghost and Virgin Mary) and Profane (poisonous aphrodisiac, luck in love, and good luck from “4”). Thus in the raunchy “Miller’s Tale” of Chaucer’s Medieval “Canterbury Tales” , the love-struck clerk Absolon advances his “noble, knightly love” to the carpenter John’s adulterous wife Alisoun (naughty with student Nicholas) with love-promoting Truelove under his tongue (“Under his tonge a trewe-love he beer”). Perhaps the 4-leafed aquatic fern Marsilia quadrifolia (water clover) had related significance for the Ancient Egyptians. Trueloves are amply scattered throughout my painting.
“Truelove” as an implicitly Monogamous title could also be considered somewhat disingenuous given that the painting portrays an international variety of naked women (and indeed was abruptly described as “16 naked chicks” by a mid-twenties, feminist, cosmopolitan, professional Young Loved One female critic – however many of my other women friends love the colours and forms). Indeed this painting relates in this sense to paintings involving the choice by Man of the most beautiful woman in the world e.g. Peter Paul Rubens “The Judgement of Paris” (National Gallery, London) and Sandro Botticelli’s exquisite “Primavera” (Uffizi Gallery, Florence) in which a Man (Mars) studies a fruit on a bough, studiously ignoring half a dozen utterly gorgeous Botticelli females and unaware of Cupid about to release an Arrow of Love.
Similarly, the intersection of the Circles in the Golden Rectangle yields the so-called Vesica Pisces construction that has a Sacred symbolism (the Gothic Arch of Christian churches and the Christian symbol of the Fish) and a Profane symbolism (the female vulva and lips, the male penis and male phallic obscenities such as bullets, bombs and missiles). This symbolism is also apparent in the painting. The REAL “shock” of the Da Vinci Code is not the unexceptional assertion (as in Dan Brown’s novel) of Jesus being married with children (a perfectly fit and indeed expected state for a rabbi) but the pre-Christian, Profane and sexual imagery implicit in the Golden Rectangle that is so intimately associated with Sacred Christian iconography..
Previously MWC News has published accounts of my Mother and Child paintings “Manhattan Madonna” and “Sydney Madonna” (see: http://sites.google.com/site/artforpeaceplanetmotherchild/home ) that are inspired by Renaissance Italian Golden Rectangle-based Madonna and Child paintings and have the fundamental message that the Beauty and Truth of Mother and Child transcend the greatest creations of Man (e.g. Manhattan and the iconic Sydney Opera House/Sydney Harbor Bridge man-made landscape) and the greatest evils of Man (such as the 9/11 atrocity that killed 3,000 people and the post-9/11 Bush Wars that are associated with 3.6 million excess deaths, mostly of Women and Children). “Truelove” explores the Beauty and Truth of Woman and shows that it is both Sacred and Profane. Make your own Choice – my favourite is the woman on the far Left Hand Side with the secret smile made so endearing by Princess Diana, the Queen of Hearts.