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"Prometheus" -- link to Gothic Scaffolding Gallery

     For me, the Gothic cathedral represents an interspace between the realms of gross matter and pure spirit. It was the great technological innovation of the medieval period, an architectural device designed to raise the faithful closer to God. In cross-section, the flying buttresses and columns even resemble veined wings, whose function it is to lift the roof and spire high over vast prismatic windows and walls of delicate tracery. Through these stained glass windows, the "divine fire" filters from the heavens to the humans below, guiding us out of the darkness and inspiring spiritual growth.

     The price for this architectural transgression -- for building towering walls of glass and stone lace is clearly a violation in the material world -- is the confinement of the entire cathedral body by buttresses radiating out, tethering this Gothic Prometheus to a perimeter of stone pillars. Wing-like structures suggesting the potential for flight serve instead as anchors.

     Many cultures have stories similar to the Greek myths of Prometheus and Icarus, recast here in architectural terms. These myths warn of the dangers associated with self extension, of disrupting the existing order, of losing control of or becoming enslaved by the tools which we create to serve us in our quest to transcend our current state of being. Through my recent paintings, I aim to develop a visual language that expresses this struggle between the desire to rise above our more primitive traits and the tendency of those traits to assert their dominance and perpetuate their existence. The cathedral takes on dual and contradictory functions, serving as scaffolding for a spiritual transformation of the figure, but scaffolding which threatens to overpower and engulf.

- Marc Silva, fall 2001