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Twilight of the Butterfly

Troy Ramos


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Twilight of the Butterfly

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The inspiration for this series of paintings emanates from an experience the artist had as a child. The description can be found below. Twilight of the Butterfly is the fourth work in a series of collage paintings called Structures. The subjects in this series have no obvious background or purpose, and the collage shapes seem to appear out of nowhere. But once we consider that these works are based on an emotional experience of losing a loved one as a child, we begin to see the shapes as something very different. In "Twilight of the Butterfly", the artist uses paper collage to depict mortality in the abstract form of a butterfly being torn apart. So often we think about a caterpillar transforming into a butterfly, but we do not think about a butterfly, becoming something else. Although dark, the brightness of the colors, the lines and the shapes are intended to convey a sense of purpose. It is through this terrible moment that perhaps we elevate to another plane of existence. This work is about hope in the moments of despair; light in the midst of darkness. An end, and a twilight are simply also necessary steps in the process towards a beginning and a new dawn. From the artist: On the origin of "Structures": When I was 9 years old, I had a brother who died at birth. I still have flashes of different memories from that time, like my mother being really sick or the haunting looks of fear on both my parent’s faces during pregnancy. But the most painful memory is sitting at the back of a dark room at the funeral home, watching my parents cry as they kneeled in front of the smallest coffin you'll ever see. Besides the strange, orange sliver of sunlight barely shining in the window, we were the only ones in the room. Later in life, I realized that I have a recurring nightmare about that experience. It's always the same story: I am standing in front of a house, too frightened to enter. I can feel the presence of something inside that cannot be seen. When I eventually enter the house, I taunt the spirit, challenging it to react to my thoughts about it. Then I yell angrily that it should prove it’s alive by moving various objects and slamming doors. The spirit always responds. The longer I'm there, the angrier it gets. Soon objects are flying everywhere as I rush for the door, narrowly making it out of the house in a total panic. I have this dream once every few years still. It’s always a dark setting, full of unique shapes, dampened colors and weird still-lives set up around the house. The visuals portray an immense sadness and it’s always the exact same lighting as the room at that funeral home (which is oddly like the copy of The Allegory of Painting by Vermeer that always hung in our dining room). But what I find most striking about these dreams now is the incredible amount of energy I feel in them. Yes, there is fear and anger. And my perspective on the meaning of this dream, while ever-changing, is still uncertain. But the energy that quickly explodes onto the scene is so powerful and inspiring that I can't help but believe it forges a meaningful connection with something I can feel, but cannot explain.

14"H × 11"W × 0.01"D
Acrylic, Spray Paint, Paper Collage and Pencil on Paper


'My religion is to trust myself'. My process involves creating art quickly to produce works which represent a particular moment in time. Years of study and experimentation have made significant contributions to my work. But simply trusting my instincts has encouraged more interesting results and has allowed me to avoid difficulties related to paralysis by analysis. There is often an appropriate amount of breathing between various aspects, layers or gestures within each work. But those breaths are also within the same period of time and space, so each new element still feels and looks like it emanated from materials which came before it.

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