Capon Capers oil on canvas 24x30" Sold
Today I sold "Capon Capers." I am happy, of course, but also feel bereft. The painting has been part of my life for 21 years and has moved with me from several times. I love it- it reveals my dark sense of humor with an underlying concern with the appalling way that American farm corporations treat the animals they sell as food.
This painting was inspired also my amusement that the French term for still life is "nature morte," which literally means "dead nature." I drew actual capons suspended from strings and made the capons dance - a "danse macabre."
Lots of people have thought the background is blood- it's not. At the time I painted it I was going through a love affair with the paintings of Pieter Paul Rubens. There were several Rubens paintings at one art museum in Berlin, Germany which I visited frequently. I so admired to glowing red pigments in Rubens' work. During his lifetime, it was rumored that Rubens' brush was "dipped in blood". I hope no one actually believed that. Oxidized blood is rust colored- not this passionate intense and pure pigment.
Over the years, people who saw this painting either really got the fun and darkness of it and loved it- or they were freaked out and accused me of suffering from some sort of trauma. I can't count the number of people who insisted they saw baby faces in the capons. Human brains are hardwired to make meaning from any shape. So I conclude some people's imaginations were working overtime. I do think the capons look a little like babies. In the grocery store they look so plump and pink and clean.
In Europe one often sees chickens with the head and legs still attached- leaving no doubt about the origins of the meat.
The husband of the woman who bought the painting fell in love with it. She told me he thinks the painting is symbolic of his life. He runs around like, "a chicken with its head cut off." My mother often said that's how she felt- especially when my sister, brother and I were little. The buyer was delighted I hadn't sold the painting as she is buying it for her husband's birthday next week- lucky man to have a wife who loves him that much.
I am happy that part of my history has found a loving home