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The Tercet Sum

Looking back on 2022, one of my key accomplishments was the solo show, Apotrope, at La Luz de Jesus Gallery.

ap·o·tro·pa·ic /ˌapətrəˈpāik/ adjective 1. supposedly having the power to avert evil influences or bad luck.

The exhibit included works that incorporated folklore and mythology from both east and west, focusing on symbols imbued with apotropaic properties intended to protect and shield the viewer from evil. Egg tempera paintings are, in general, and for good reason, small. I had an entire room to fill, so it was the perfect time to finally figure out how to work big.

The Tercet Sum is a large triptych of Amabies painted on traditionally crafted icon boards sourced from Eastern Europe. I’d begun painting my version of Amabie for friends and family during the covid lockdown of 2020. The creature quickly morphed with the mystic beings from Irish fairy tales that I’d heard as a child, and they also began to include other apotropaic qualities and symbols. According to legend, Amabie is an auspicious yokai first sighted in the Higo Province of Japan during the spring of 1846. The story goes that after a mysterious light was seen rising nightly from the sea, a nearby town’s official was sent to investigate. When he arrived at the coast, he witnessed a beaked, long-haired, three-finned creature emerge from the water. She spoke and prophesized a terrible pandemic but also instructed a solution: To ward off the disease, she advised drawing an image of her and sharing it with as many people as possible.

Each Amabie in The Tercet Sum is crowned with a pinecone exemplifying the Fibonacci Sequence. The pinecone is a historic symbol of human enlightenment, resurrection, eternal life, and regeneration. Pinecones also refer to the pineal gland, considered by many cultures to be the biological Third Eye: the "Seat of the Soul”. In literature, a tercet is a three-lined poem. The triad is a symbolic representation found in cultures throughout the world. It represents universal concepts of primordial forces and precise universal law. This three-paneled painting’s composition is reminiscent of both Buddhist and Catholic Alter pieces, religions that define the history of my family.

The Tercet Sum 2022, Egg Tempera on Icon Board, 3 @ 36” x 24” x2” with round top (80” x 36” x 2” hung) Available


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