DAWN PORTAL (2006) by Michael Whelan
Acrylic on Panel - 20” x 24”
The woman in this Portals painting is seeking wisdom and meaning beyond the knowledge she can gain from cultural influences, here represented by the statues. Night is passing and she is facing the light squarely, drawing conclusions based on direct personal experience, not the received wisdom of bygone ages.
THE BIG QUESTION (2007) by Michael Whelan
Acrylic on Canvas - 60” X 48”
I’ve done a number of paintings which have taken their symbolic cues from letter forms. “Eye” is one example (eye = “I”). As with many of my works, this one employs light as a symbol of knowledge and affirmation. There are two Stanley Kubrick quotes which are relevant to this painting:
"The very meaninglessness of life forces man to create his own meaning."
"The most terrifying fact about the universe is not that it is hostile but that it is indifferent… but if we can come to terms with this indifference, then our existence as a species can have genuine meaning. However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light."
THE SCALE OF ETERNITY (1999) by Michael Whelan
Oil on Gessoboard - 25” x 40”
On close examination the linear form the man is climbing is marked with gradations like a ruler. At the time I painted SCALE, I was thinking a lot about our innate drive to quantify, judge or rate aspects of our collective human experience. We can’t seem to overcome our need to define the best, the prettiest, the most powerful or the biggest.