48" x 48" Oil On Board
A playful and easily recognisable work, Black Double Rainbows features two perfectly arched rainbows. While the colors are vibrant, the meteorological phenomena are set against a black background which suggests something more ominous. Noted for its beauty and mystical tone, rainbows appear throughout mythology in a variety of cultures, including Norse, Judeo-Christian, Sumerian, Australian, Aboriginal and Armenian. Additionally the sign of a rainbow is prefaced in a variety of religions, where it is believed to be a sort of path, bridge, slit in the sky and a connection to a spiritual or heavenly realm. There is also an association with luck, which has been popularised through Irish mythology and the belief in a Leprechaun hiding his pot of gold at the end of rainbow. Rainbows also have a long history through the traditional art historical canon. Frequently featured in Romantic landscape paintings and religious art, they are colorful and in the case of the Romantics they acted as a tool in which artists could explore the fleeting transience of light. Some notable examples include works by Casper David Friedrich, Peter Paul Rubens and J.M.W. Turner. In more contemporary art, rainbows celebrate color, joy and the sublimity of the natural world, while also drawing upon more politicised issues. In recent years rainbows have been featured as popular fashion symbols, emojis and other decorative schemes; however, rainbows have a much longer history in cultural affairs. In 1978 the rainbow flag became a symbol of LGBT pride and peace when it was flown at the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade. The original design was partially inspired by ‘Flags of the Races’ which college students held during marches in the 1960s. The rainbow motif also draws upon the 1960s hippie movements and the work of Allen Ginsberg, a pioneering gay activist at the time. While the rainbow today is still a fun image and an awe-inducing natural occurrence, it also contains nuanced and very loaded symbolic histories.