work after the year 2000 » After Goya: Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters
oil on birch panel 25″x64″ (2009)
This painting entitled After Goya: Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters requires a little history. In 1797 Goya began a series of prints-capriccios in which he was critical of Spanish culture of avarice and greed and the political climate that fostered it. Goya believed reason was asleep and Fenton believes we too are asleep. Many of us are so involved in our little worlds that we fail to see all the problems that are descending upon us in mass. We are not talking to our enemies while conducting war and producing still more enemies; we are giving our freewheeling well greased economic machine a blind eye and a blank check; our powerhouse auto industry is producing energy inefficient cars that were increasingly unwanted; we are damaging our environment by ignoring global warming; and we are ignoring the needs of the medically uninsured–contributing to skyrocketing medical costs. All the while North Korea is building and testing nuclear weapons and Iran is doing the same and threatening Israel. In Fenton’s painting, most of the figures are self-absorbed in their own world with the exception of the little girl (Fenton’s granddaughter, Leila) who is peeping around the corner. The little girl is in the process of expanding her world and her image suggests that hope is around the corner when the predator birds are descending. Her awareness is the inspiration of this painting and our hope around the corner as well.