The Ambivalent Genesis of Being
Oil on canvas, 40" x 50", 2010


This painting depicts the creation of my genes. The two ceremonial goddesses represent the random forces of nature that combined the two chromosomes that formed the embryo that became me. The images at the top were painted from my family photographs. From the left, the two men are my grandfathers, Ken Gooch and Leo Whipple. Ken was a Missouri farmer; Leo was a businessman near Chicago. They never met. The couple is my parents, Moe and Norma, shown when they met on a blind date in 1950. I invented the goddesses so I could depict nature’s total ambivalence in bringing my parent’s genes together. I wanted the goddesses to look unenthusiastic and disinterested. Nature may be ambivalent but I am utterly amazed at how from the billions of people alive my grandparents got together to create my parents and how by some equally improbable chance my parents got together to create me.

I created the grouping of three-lines as a design element and in some works it’s as a symbol for life. I use three lines because three repetitions of something is a definite pattern. I use it as a symbol for life because the most basic recognition of something living is the perception of a pattern of movement. This painting is about the essence of life and the life symbol is used in many different ways.