|The Meaning of the symbolic imagery
The Evil Pegasus
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Evil Pegasus 2,
by Dan Gheno,
2014, Oil on two canvases, 36 x 36 in, 36 x 18in
My figurative work is primarily metaphorical, dealing with social, psychological, and political themes, along with formal aesthetic concerns such as canvas surface, paint quality and gestural expressiveness. Much of my allegorical imagery is quite personal and opaque and usually not immediately accessible to the general public. I try to present my metaphorical content in a manner broad enough so viewers can come to their own conclusions. I ask them to collaborate with me and actively interact with the painting, interpreting the imagery based upon their own personal experiences. If one looks at these works and see something completely contrary to the explanation below, that is okay. Your interpretation is just as valid as my own.
imagery in the Evil Pegasus canvases make a metaphorical reference to the
modern “rebirth” of the oil trust/monopolies such as Exxon-Mobil that
were long ago outlawed by the Sherman Anti-Trust act, a law largely left
unused since President James Carter broke up AT&T. The male figure in
the left canvas symbolically represents a billionaire as a shaman or
warlock, and the hands in the right canvas are an allusion to the mystical
gestures found in much religious imagery. But,
instead of conjuring up good, they call forth the evil magical forces of
the Mobil and Exxon mascots.
|I reversed the normal Mobil Pegasus
emblem from facing left to right in order to emphasize its meaning as an
|Although the Exxon mascot is a tiger, I decided to
use a lion instead-- the tiger and its stripes seemed too cartoony, and I
felt that the image of a lion could better visually convey the company's predatory
skulls signify the social and physical destruction caused by these greedy,
non-nationally affiliated corporations. Specifically,
the skull in the right canvas represents a bubbling up of death in much
the same way oil explodes from the depths of earth and, when ignited,
often flares into a hellishly tall, burning spire.
canvas is not only a social statement, but it is also a personal one: The
image of the floating, white haired man is a representation of my father
who loyally served Mobil as an independent service station owner. As were
many other independent dealers in the 70’s, he was given a gangster-like
ultimatum by Mobil. After the independents helped them build up their
supply chain, Mobil was then only interested in building up a corporate
monopoly of distribution. Either he sold his station to the corporation,
or the gasoline supply would be cut off.
serving as an example of free enterprise, these large corporations such as
Mobil and Koch Industries act like sovereign entities, beholden to no
individual country or religion, only devoted to their self interest while
the rest of the world burns, largely due to their machinations. If left
under regulated and allowed to continue their monopolistic approach, their
actions will lead to the demise of true and open competitive capitalism in
this country and destroy our identity as a free, democratic country.
|David Koch as a member of the League
of Super Villains
|The League of Super Villains 1, by Dan
Gheno, oil on canvas, 40 x 40
With the recent election of Donald Trump, the monopolist threat to free commerce and freedom of speech has increase exponentially since the above words were written a year or so ago. The title of the painting below refers to the Nordic mythic story of Ragnarok, in which our Earth is consumed by a number of calamities that destroy many of the gods and leaves the world immersed in water. This is not such a farfetched scenario given the recent rise of climate-change denialism.
Dan Gheno, Ragnarok Begins 1: Death of the Demos, diptych, oil, 2016-17, 50 x 36 inches
Here to Return to www.dangheno.net
Gheno teaches at two schools: The
Art Students League of New York, 215 W 57th St, New York, NY,
And at: The National Academy of Design, School of Fine Arts, 5 E. 89th St., New York, NY, 10128