Acrylic on wood panel, 60 X 120 inches, 1999
Freedom was produced with the assistance of my students Leo Bratenas and Francisco Franco.
Freedom was conceived by Leo and the composition was developed by the group as a whole follow my lead of repurposing drawings by Leonardo da Vinci. We wanted to create a large and powerful statement about the natural state of animal freedom. We saw the wild horse, as did Carl Jung, as symbolizing the “uncontrollable instinctive drives that can erupt from the unconscious – and that many people try to repress”, and decided it was the perfect creature to reflect the struggle for freedom. We studied the real animal, illustrations of them, but were most inspired by the drawings of Leonardo da Vinci. The composition evolved slowly, and individual horses were added to the composition to reflect the various feelings brought on by confinement and liberation. At the extreme upper left is terror, and at the lower right is repose, with anxiety, turmoil, escape and release in between. The paint on this panel is heavily built up to emphasize the tension and power of the animals.