Phaethon by Conor Walton

12th Annual ARC Salon (2016-2017)

Conor Walton

Phaethon

2015

91.44 x 91.44 cm | 36 x 36 in

Oil on linen

  • Honorable Mention / Figurative

"Walton’s Phaethon, which features the artist’s son Ciarán, takes a contemporary event, a rocket launch, and traditionalizes it. Walton has titled the painting Phaethon in reference to the story of the son on the sun (Helios) who joyrides his father’s chariot through the heavens and nearly destroys them. Connecting his image to the tragic myth of a hero who thinks he is in control, but finds out the hard way that he is not, is Walton’s way of raising questions. A primary question is this: will science allow us to conquer nature and become godlike, the ideology of Progress, or are we harnessing forces we cannot control that will ultimately destroy us? 'What I’m aiming at is not a depiction of the myth,' Walton notes, 'but the drawing of a parallel; a sort of commentary upon what is seen whereby a glorious, radiant image is implanted with the germ of an epic tragedy.'" -John Seed, 'Conor Walton: The Enemies of Progress' catalogue introduction