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