Calling

Calling 
1998
Oil on Linen
77 x 88 

My cousin drove through a cow on the highway in Georgia–it flew up in the air and came down on an oncoming car in the other lane, sheering the roof off and killing the driver and the passenger.

In our screenplay, “Things Don’t Stay Fixed” by Sandra Deer there is a scene where Sam and Chris hug a cow on a highway at night under the full moon. Chris says that cows are “full of forgiveness.” Cows are otherworldly, like aliens. They seem to be ignorant but at the same time seem perfectly content; are those eyes dumb or omniscient? One can see why they are considered holy in the East. Simple complex powerful sacred creatures.

I was thinking about Andrew Wyeth’s “Young Bull,” “Geurnica” and that bull on the left. And of Titian’s “Rape of Europa.” The bull is Jupiter. The remnants of the sea are still on the hill. The urchins, like balls, brought up from the depths of the great feminine subconscious sea. I was trying to make it a self-portrait. The cow has rubbed up against a fence ripping a wound in its side. The blood drips in the shape of the Hebrew symbol for “life.” (chai).

The cow in the picture ‘is Howard’ — owned by the father of my nephew’s wife. I photographed him in Odom, GA, while I was down there for their wedding.

-Bo Bartlett