Lilac Attack is one of ten oil paintings which all together are called Panoptica. Each painting is four feet high by three feet wide. Together they form a circle connecting the changing light of one day to the seasons and weather of one year. The landscape forms a circle as it goes from inland to ocean and back. There is no beginning or end.
The foreground of each painting is dominated by a still life, each built on a different idea. These ideas interact and converse with each other, literally, conceptually, and metaphorically. The forms create a visual narrative that contrasts human and natural cycles. Each painting is stand-alone complete while at the same time integral to the whole.
In Springrise the sun rises as tiny shoots of grass grow from the rotted compost of the previous year. The series progresses through Lilac Attack to Summer Sailing, showing an afternoon with grasses growing taller, partially obscuring naked and carefree lovers playing with a toy sailboat. In Second Cutting, with evening falling, the tall grass is shown freshly cut, leaving an army helmet alone in the blood-soaked soil. Night falls in Midnight Sail as the winter wind blows feathers, seeds, and snowflakes from one painting to another, against a backdrop of darkened ocean. A full moon glows from the space between the two paintings. Finally, winter ends with the compost of early spring as The Ringmaster, a tiny toy bunny, holds court above foraging rabbits completing the circle at the conjunction of the burned remains of winter meeting the promise of fruit and new life in the warmth of another summer.
This 12 minute film, describes the impetus for this work, and provides details on each of the ten paintings. The film was created by Larry Burke.