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Deep Time

2012, acrylic on unstretched canvas, 37 x 72", by Jenny Badger Sultan

THEME

“Deep Time” is a meditation on the relationship between animals and humans over millennia--from the woman in the upper left holding an engraved bison horn (a reference to the paleolithic Venus of Laussel) to the two children near the bottom, one standing face-to-face with a baboon. Many visits to the zoo with my grandson have increased my feeling for animals. All My Relations also explores this relationship. After the fact, I believe Deep Time was inspired by, or at least influenced by, the animals appearing in the dream-painting Mary McBride and the Spiritual Earth Movement.

Acrylic painting, 'Deep Time', by Jenny Badger Sultan. Click to enlarge Detail of acrylic painting, 'Deep Time', by Jenny Badger Sultan, showing elephant and children. Click to enlarge

TECHNIQUE

I had been given a roll of finely textured canvas by a friend whose artist husband had left it when he died. It was just the right width and had two finished selvedges. (I have not been able to find anything like this canvas since I used it all up.) So I was inspired to make a series of long panels on this unstretched canvas. Although I had a subject in mind for each of the other paintings (like Kore, Falling and the Green Man) "Deep Time" is an exception.

I began in a completely random way, first scraping wavy paths of different gold powders mixed with acrylic medium down the center of the canvas. Then, working sometimes on the floor, sometimes on a table, sometimes on the wall, I scraped on colored glazes, pressed on textures, made resists and worked very freely and experimentally. Imagery and creatures arose out of the accidents in the paint, from imagination, and from dreams.

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