The Eden Iris: The Rape Of Eden By Monkeys by Mark Sheeky

G630A The Eden Iris: The Rape Of Eden By Monkeys
Oil on panel in gilded cabinet
Jun to Dec 2013, Size 500x500 mm

Detail from The Eden Iris: The Rape Of Eden By Monkeys by Mark Sheeky Detail from The Eden Iris: The Rape Of Eden By Monkeys by Mark Sheeky Detail from The Eden Iris: The Rape Of Eden By Monkeys by Mark Sheeky Detail from The Eden Iris: The Rape Of Eden By Monkeys by Mark Sheeky

About this painting
This was my major artwork of 2013. A mix of art and engineering. I decided to make a circular cabinet with seven wooden leaves that peeled back like an iris diaphragm to reveal an oil painting. In part this was a response to, and evolution of, the Richard Dadd cabinet from the previous year.

This work was also inspired by Hieronymous Bosche's Garden of Earthly Delights, which is also an artwork housed in a great cabinet, in that case a perfect square, but the work here depicts a different garden of Eden, albeit one with a similar theme, a warning.

The painting shows nature under attack from screaming monkeys, a simple allegory for environmental destruction that the earth is facing. There are lots of animals, some endangered, some extinct, some otherwise, hidden throughout the painting, all under threat from the burning forest.

This work is large, heavy and delicate, and rather spiky and oddly shaped. This makes is beautiful but also very difficult to transport and exhibit. As a result it has not yet been displayed in public.

Technical details
The iris cabinet was a major technical challenge, which was one reason I wanted to try it. Everything was cut and made using hand tools, for several reasons. I also wanted to design an iris diaphragm that had the minimum of external support (most have a huge surround), and one that sealed tightly and didn't have overlapping doors (most irises have a hole in the centre and have overlapping doors).

The cabinet is mostly constructed from medium density fibreboard sheets, with limewood (basswood) on the surface which I carved and gilded, using rose gold for the planet Earth in the centre. The black bezel part demanded the most accuracy. The curving slots were hand-cut using a jigsaw and needed to be accurate to at least 1mm. The object as a whole weighs about 15kg.



The Eden Iris: The Rape Of Eden By Monkeys
Price inc. installation on application.