Friday, June 7, 2013

The Sacrifice - Center Panel of The (In)humanity Triptych

"The Sacrifice" Oil on Linen, 41" x 49"
“The Sacrifice” references God’s destruction of humanity in the biblical narrative of the flood. and human efforts to  arrogate divine destructive power through acts of genocide. In this painting I have have envisioned Noah and his son incinerating the  humans that were destroyed in the flood, and I have marked this act (and, more significantly, the destruction of all humankind) as a prelude to the genocide of the Holocaust. The “Sacrifice” challenges our belief in the goodness of God and humanity , and highlights the rupture in the covenant between them.


  1. Your "Sacrifice" image challenges us to acknowledge our own rage and despair. And if we do so, will we discover hope? When I was a child I was fascinated by the Dore Illustrated Bible, the images of the drowned people in the Flood. I am intrigued by how centered your "Sacrifice" image is. The centrality of the tormented, framed almost as if it were a stage presentation. We are invited to enter into a scene, and the scene is one we recoil from, and yet remain to contemplate, to struggle to understand. You pose an impossible challenge -- does faith have anything to do with perceived reality? As I contemplated your image, I thought, if I were a secular humanist, would I lose faith in humanity? If I didn't lose faith in humanity, then as a Deist, would I lose faith in God? Is there any rationality in existence? The Book of Job admonishes us, tells us we cannot understand the reasons underlying created reality, because we are not the Creator. And yet -- do we encounter the true ground of being, ultimate reality, or does the reality of our minds and hearts create our perception of reality? Do we judge God? Thank you for your powerful and disturbing image.... Merle

  2. Thanks so much, Merle, for your profound meditation. Part of my decision to center the image rested upon a desire to mimic traditional religious icon-paintings. Also, the frame of "The Sacrifice" comes to a slightly triangular apex at the top, in a partly ironic effort to, again mimic religious, particularly Christian, iconography. My framer, Jim McDermott, suggested this and I agreed because I felt that "The Sacrifice" should point towards the heavens, a heaven that may or may not be illusory or empty.

    Also, as one of the viewers at my exhibition in Alexandria stated, "The Sacrifice" holds a mirror up to the viewer and confronts her/him with his and our aestheticization, and even worship of violence and evil,something that is present all of the time, but not explicitly stated in film, television and other media. You are absolutely right that the holocaust, other genocides and humanity's inhumanity pose an unresolvable question regarding both faith in God and humankind, a question that we nonetheless are both fated and enjoined to keep asking.

  3. Dr. Drob, do you have a POV on Jung's Answer to Job as it relates to these themes?