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PHARMAGARDEN ~ 6/2011
Original was commissioned by a private collector
Prints of this painting Available Here

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Acrylic on wood panel. 18" x 24" (45.7cm. X 61.0 cm.)

This is a commissioned painting. The commissioner is in the pharmaceutical business. He suggested that I include (if i could) some of his wares. That was an opportunity for me to express my feelings about the subject in symbolic prose, via my paint and imagination.

NOTE:The scrotal looking plants in the painting are my favorites, California Pitcher plants, also known as "COBRA LILIES," which only grow well north of Los Angeles and up into Oregon. These clever plant adaptations entice their insect pray into a narrow mouth, heading toward a digestive "pot" with inward pointing hairs, preventing the insect from reversing out. Pitchers and other carnivorous plants don't ever bite people, so if you own one you don't have to worry about potential lawsuits or calls from a lawyer.

NOTE: In the foreground; The rod of Asclepius, also known as the asklepian, is an ancient symbol associated with astrology, the Greek god Asclepius, and with medicine and healing. It consists of a serpent entwined around a staff. (sans frog)

When asked about my feelings about the painting the following;

ABOUT 'PHARMAGARDEN'

~ Of my feelings, ideas and images portrayed in this painting, some are new, but many recur for me. This environment in the painting is a "garden" or "swamp" which I see and daydream about often in my life. It's a place conjured from a deep distant memory of my childhood. It is a place by water in a dark dense forest where I was completely content and spellbound by its beauty, tranquility and “aliveness”. I have dreamed of this place many times, and instinctually think of it as my personal "heaven." If there is such a place as heaven, mine will be a green and lush place in a universal forest of pulsating life.

The water in the painting is still and deep. It contains many life forms, and is itself alive. Deep water has always mesmerized me. The dead man in the pool is a symbol of my personal death. I have introduced this image into many of my paintings. The insects and small creatures represent my fascination with worlds of tiny complexity. The skull, for me, is always a symbol of death. In this work I have used the skull to epitomize the fear and loathing I have for the hazards of being a human in a world alive with fearful biological perils, (and hence, my use of the symbol for “bio-hazard”). From this skull, which is born from the mortar and pestle, comes the capsules, tablets and injections often necessary to help cure what ails us.

The forms that protrude from the sides of the composition are experiments in “abstract symbolism” (for lack of any better descriptive term) They don't necessarily represent anything, and yet, I hope they vaguely represent something different, and I hope a bit of a mystery, for all of the people who will eventually view the painting.

This painting took 168 hours to complete over 24 sessions. ... R.S. Connett, 6/9/2011

NOTE: A letter from the commissioner after he'd seen his new painting for the first time;

Robert! Words can't even begin to describe what you have created for me, but I will try anyways. This painting is beautiful and very personal at the same time. I would greatly enjoy hearing some of your thoughts behind your final creation. I love your use of the Staff of Asclepius - what a powerful symbol. It will be great to see what people think of this specific portion of the painting who are unaware of its relevance (as well as the majestic frog perched on top). I think your interpretation/vision of what we discussed is fantastic, and you're right - I never could have imagined this as a final product, but that's also why I wanted you to paint this piece. I truly think it's as beautiful from a great distance as it is up close. The mortar and pestle creating the destruction above is phenomenal (And my favorite part of the painting, at least for right now). Such strong imagery throughout. I spent a year and half of my life looking under a microscope after staining slides of HIV infected brain, so the lower right and upper left corners of this piece will always remind me of my time spent in the lab - as it was truly some of the best time of my life. I love the creatures throughout, the vertebrae running up the left side, the veins/arteries/nerves being exposed, and of course the pharmacological products dispersed amongst the "PharmaGarden". I feel very fortunate to have been able to have this piece commisioned by you. I am more than happy to wire the money from my bank account to yours, just give me the details for this to happen. Also, I think we should do the frame, especially if you already have the perfect one to go with the painting. Again, thanks for creating something so infinitely detailed and that I will enjoy for the rest of my life.

* For commission prices, contact R.S. Connett at rsconnett@gmail.com

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