Pedro Vayu Gallinger, "Ichtus", acrylic on canvas, 100 x 100 cms, 2020, Argentina.
ICHTHUS / acrylic on canvas, 100 x 100 cm, 2020 / Pedro Vayu Gallinger
I made this painting in 2020, at the beginning of the pandemic. When we just started wearing masks and spending more time inside our homes.
It was commissioned by a woman who wanted a painting for her physiotherapy treatment center. She is a person very devoted to Jesus and she told me that she wanted her painting to represent Jesus helping us to recover after the fall and move forward stronger. She also told me about that passage in the Bible in which Peter loses his self-confidence and sinks after taking his first steps on the water.
So I set out to paint that scene. I used my body as a reference model. I climbed on a table and from below my wife took several photos of me until one fit just the perspective I was looking for. When a body is painted with such a pronounced foreshortening, there is a risk of giving the sensation of a shortened body. That's why the angle had to be perfect. I also needed the bottom of the foot to show.
Obviously, I didn't use my face to represent Jesus, hahaha. Although internally I imagine Jesus with a normal, common face, brown skin, brown eyes, Hebrew features, I decided to use a more Hollywood face when looking for faces on the internet I found the face of an actor from one of the Bible movies. I was moved by the look on his face, so I used him as a reference.
I started painting the water. I wanted to generate a circular effect that would accompany the square format of the canvas. I thought of that fisheye photographic effect.
I used ultramarine blue, cerulean and phthalo, combined with white. I sought to use little material to maintain a certain transparency and luminosity.
It also seemed important to me not to obsess over the perfection of the water effect. I love that artistic painting allows us to just simulate something and the viewer completes and interprets the image. I like an abstract stain imitating a tree better than a hyper-realistic tree. So I considered "less is more" for the background.
I also added some rays of sunlight that go through the water. I did that by removing the paint with a damp cloth. This idea of light that appears by removing matter instead of adding it seems to me to be a beautiful symbolic metaphor of spiritual awakening: emptying ourselves of ego to be filled with divinity.
Finally, I describe what it is for me the most original idea of this work.
I am passionate about Sacred Geometries. So I had to find a way to place one of these geometries in this work that I intuited would go around the world. The solution quickly came, I discovered that I could use the Vesica Pisces’s as the shock waves of the water in the support of the foot and the hand.
This geometry is composed of two circles of equal radius that intersect at their respective centers. It is a design that has intrigued humanity for thousands of years due to the knowledge contained in its lines and its mathematical proportions.
We could say that it symbolically represents the divine proportion of all creation, fullness and union. The vesica Pisces exalts duality as a representation of the balance between the simple and the complex, the dense and the subtle, the material and the spiritual, being the seed of innumerable creations. In geometry the Vesica Pisces is the origin of all regular polygons and in religion it is the portal where the births of the divinities are found. From the center of the vesica Pisces, the mandorla is born. The word comes from Italian and means almond. The shape is ogival and is present in the outline of almost all the images of saints in Christianity and in the points of cathedrals, castles and temples throughout the world. It also symbolizes the feminine principle that generates life. The almond-shaped door through which babies are born.
Regarding the name:
The ICHTHUS or ichthys (from the Greek ἰχθύς 'fish', is a symbol that consists of two arches that intersect in a way that looks like the profile of a fish like a vesica piscis or horizontal mandorla, and that was used by the first Christians as a secret symbol.
The acronym stands for Ἰησοῦς Χριστὸς Θεοῦ Υἱὸς Σωτήρ Iesous Christos Theou Uios Soter, this means:
‘Jesus Christ (Jesus, Anointed), Son of God, Savior’.
I made the work in less than 40 hours and I painted it in the garden outside my house, exposing myself for the first time to painting in front of my neighbors in the new neighborhood where I live.
The confinement due to the pandemic stimulated me to share the process of this painting with my surroundings. They insisted that we lock ourselves up so much that I wanted to add a little beauty and variety to the urban landscape of the corner where I live. During that week I received the compliments of those who passed in front of my house. It was a beautiful experience sharing myself like this. I also filmed the process of creating the painting and shared the video on my social networks.
This work is giving me a lot of satisfaction. To me, to the client with the original work and her patients and to hundreds of people who find it online. I receive constant messages of thanks, stories of experiences and sensations. Many people download the image to their cell phone and set it as their wallpaper. It is a great honor for me to paint Master Jesus.
Thank you for his presence and interest.
I hug you.
Pedro Vayu Gallinger
at the service of Art