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Drawings of Serpent Handlers
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                                           "ARTHUR REACHES INTO THE DEEP LIGHT"

Pictured is "Arthur Reaches Into The Deep Light"; chalk and charcoal on Somerset rag, 60"x48".

In this particular drawing the artist pays homage to Dennis Covington and his book "Salvation On Sand Mountain". In one passage from "Sand Mountain" where Covington writes about his experience of taking up serpents: "The air was silent and filled with that strong, even light. And I realized that I too was fading into the white." "The snake would be the last to go, and all I could see was the way its scales shimmered one last time in the light,..."

 

 

The artist here presents the central figure "Arthur" in a pose inspired by Michelangelo's "God the Father Separates Light and Dark". Reaching into a bright white rectangle from the black ground of the drawing, "Arthur" engages a massive snake. This white rectangle and the shape of this massive snake, it turns out, is a slightly altered copy of (and homage to) Jackson Pollock's "Into The Deep". Behind the massive snake, written by a faint hand in Old Greek script is the Biblical verse Mark 16:18.

The group to the left of "Arthur" was derived from Michelangelo's "Brazen Serpent" and Peter Paul Reuben's copy of this fresco. Close to the center of the composition is a Janus portrait, its head entwined with a snake, an image inspired by another Jackson Pollock work.

Emerging from the right side of the drawing are two hands. The upper hand is reminiscent of the tortured arm of Christ from "The Isenheim Altarpiece". The other hand, reaching for the tipping crucifix entwined with a "brazen serpent", mirrors the faint hand that writes the script behind the massive snake.