July 2018



The Concert

The Concert
2010, acrylic on canvas, 76 x 48 in.


The Concert


The Concert combines elements of music and architecture while also continuing my focus on the ideas of change and transformation. It is a magical piece that depicts a seemingly tortured individual playing a viola da gamba while perched on a cloud underneath the protective shelter of an architectural folly. The folly floats in a sky filled with stylized red rain or teardrops that are symbolic of the evocative power of the music.

Central to the composition is a viola da gamba player whose body contorts as he desperately attempts to covey the emotions of the music. His head is tilted back as if looking above for inspiration. A radiant light bathes him, but he cannot see it because his head is wrapped in cloth. This condition both blinds him and allows him to concentrate on playing music. Three birds circle above him, each holding an end of the cloth, slowly unwrapping his head, as if to indicate that the music is the source of seeing, of enlightenment. The viola da gamba is gold, symbolic of the preciousness of the instrument and of the music itself.

The architectural folly can be seen as a gazebo, a pergola, or even a small temple. But whichever kind of structure one interprets it to be it is a strange composite of different architectural forms and elements. Functionally it is a shelter for the viola da gamba player and houses an unseen spiritual presence in the interior space of the ceiling that floods the scene below in light. The folly also has numerous symbolic references to the Trinity: round trefoil arches, tri-spherical finials, three fish in each fishbowl, as well as an all-seeing eye-of-God on the upper tympanum. The fishbowl capitals are at first glance whimsical because of their architecturally fragile positioning, but on closer inspection they reveal that some fish are alive and some are dead. This representation of life and death, the disintegration of the columns, and the transitory nature of both the cloud and the music all reference the ideas of change and transformation while also heightening the magical aspects of the painting.

- Brian Mains, 2018