New Works: Blazing Palm Trees

I’m working on a new series of large oil paintings depicting the ubiquitous palm trees of Los Angeles, set on fire and blazing away against L.A.’s photochemical sunsets.

The works allude to the intrinsic wildness of my city, where every year the surrounding hills are swept by fire, a phenomenon experienced by no other major metropolis on earth. It is an apocalyptic vision every Angelino is familiar with, as author Joan Didion once wrote, “The city burning is Los Angeles’s deepest image of itself.”

In the studio
In the studio with my blazing Palm Trees. Photo by Jeannine Thorpe, 2007.

But my paintings are also rich in metaphor, alluding to my city’s history of civil disturbances as well as the unspeakable violence going on elsewhere in the world.

Baghdad’s palm trees burn just as fiercely as those in Los Angeles. At the risk of sounding maudlin, you might even say my paintings are a form of self-portrait – giving a picture of fiery passions illuminating our darkened times. I’m pleased with the way my canvases are developing, I’m working furiously on them night and day and hope to publicly unveil them soon.

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