2020 threw some serious punches into many lives. People everywhere are doubting their purpose, their future, and God. Like the Atlas moth, we have the choice to spread our wings and gift the world what we came to give.
“Grace and the Atlas Moth” is a slice in spacetime, where the hidden is seen and things become possible. This pentaptych, five wood panels, took a year to create, 1,296 hours. It presents a hand and a moth— painted entirely in woodstain. It captures an ephemeral moment— we’re not seeing what we think we see.
Once out of its cocoon an Atlas moth only lives about a week. The time to live out its destiny is fleeting, but in that time it gives the world the uniqueness of its grand size. The Attacus Atlas is one of the largest in the world. Its wing-span can reach almost 12 inches wide.* That makes the hand in this work impossibly large... in our natural world.
This 7.5 foot painting represents the mysterious moments of grace in life that escape our notice because the human mind lives in the past or future. Yet if we stay in the present moment, we may realize how grand they really are, while they are happening.
The Moth is a symbol of our human life-- a metaphor of a fleeting existence whose beauty is unrealized because it's wrapped in tragedy (eg, Atlas' short life). This work is a contemplation of an ephemeral moment that transforms pain into mysterious beauty.
Like the Atlas our time is short, but we have the choice to spread our wings and gift the world what we came to give. The present is all there ever really is. The past can’t be redone, the future can not be obtained. Staying present is where the joy and peace are. We can all experience profound and mysterious moments of grace if we stay and live in the present moment.
VISIT during ArtPrize 2021. Stand, Stop, Breath. Contemplate the ephemeral beauty surrounding the circumstances of the Atlas' existence. For just a moment, be the moth. Note how your very own life has been touched in extraordinary moments of hidden grace.
Behind the Work
“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious.
It is the source of all true art and science.”
“...what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (author of The Little Price)
*Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory®. The Atlas Moth, Attacus Atlas. https://www.cambridgebutterfly.com/attacus-atlas/