Los Hermanos de Destruccion Numero 6
Ink-jet on Val-Hues photo glossy paper
21" x 13.5"
With Los Hermanos de Destruccion Numero 6, from the series collectively titled Los Hermanos de Destruccion, artist Kelly McFadden provides a pop-art take on the mythology of Nature, using new media to explore ancient themes of humanity's relationship to Nature's destructive forces.
Who is this mysterious figure, this menacing Paul Bunyan? McFadden sites such influences as Pecos Bill and other American folklore characters, spaghetti western movies and Jose Guadalupe Posada's Day of the Dead cartoons as well as recent news reports of various natural disasters.
These giants suggest a 19th Century versions of the mythical Titans, unleashed upon us in a 20th Century apocalypse such as the San Francisco quake of 1906. The giants of the old myths had to fall to create our present universe, but they've always been with us. The earth was created from the body of Ymir in Norse mythology. Adam Kadmon of the Kabbala supposedly contained heaven and earth within his limbs. Prometheus was martyred by Zeus for giving Man fire. They're all these powerful earth forces. I'm sure every culture has some variation on the Titan story. This is my personal variation.
Why Destruccion rather than Creacion or some other more positive theme? We tend to romanticize Nature in most art. It's usually pleasant landscapes and pretty still-lifes. But there have always been artists who considered Nature's more harrowing aspects. For example, a painting that always frightened me as a kid was Winslow Homer's The Gulf Stream. You've got a man who has survived a waterspout's destruction of his boat and now he's being menaced by sharks. There's blood on the ocean's waves. But there's a ship on the horizon which will rescue the man.
Computer-generated art often seems so divorced from human experience. A lot of it is New Age or kitsch-y sci-fi material. My work does have a fantasy element to it, in these gigantic mythological cowboys. But by using found, photographic images, I feel like I'm building my myths the way they should be built, from the actual stuff of our lives. If I could paint-and I really can't-I wouldn't be limited by the "stuff" of this world. But I am limited that way and I find that the work is strengthened by a photographic grounding.
All the artwork was created digitally, combining scanned images, images captured with a digital camera and objects created with 3-D modeling software.