On an especially grievous day, mulling over the state of social discourse, I found myself repeating passages from a Garrison Keillor essay: “… nevertheless life goes on … what matters are tomatoes …” He’d had a great crop, mine was flourishing, too. His words had me thinking: the sun comes up and goes down, the stars fleck the sky while we sleep, and will continue to do so. Garden of the Not So Evil explores nature's indifference to the folly of our debate or the level of our angst. The paintings are lush and playful, a celebration engendered from ennui, and denote nature’s appreciation of variability and change.
Orchids, dragonflies, butterflies, and foliage depicted in the series expound diversity and longevity. The Orchidaceae (orchid), is the largest and most diverse flower family on our planet, with over 25,000 species. Thriving for 80 million years, orchids have the uncanny ability to evolve, taking on the characteristics of birds and insects, thereby, attracting selective pollinators. Hermaphroditic, orchids contain both male and female parts. Some variations produce male, female, and unisex flowers on the same plant. The earliest fossils of the butterfly are from the Eocene epoch, 40-50 million years ago. There are 17,500 species of butterfly. An occasional aberration, gynandromorphy, produces insects with both female and male genotypes. Their wing patterns are distinct: one side exhibiting male coloring, the other female. Protodonata, the earliest dragonfly and first winged insect, shared the earth with the first reptiles over 300 million years ago. The common North American damselfly Ischnura hastate, is rather special: non-fertilized eggs produce female only offspring.
I watch the butterflies, dragonflies, bees, and hummingbirds in my garden; they pay me no attention. The tomatoes are good this year, so are the peppers, eggplants, and squash.