Here To Inspire

Blood Works: The Sanguineous Art of Robert Sherer

The medium is the message in these drawings rendered in blood — both HIV-negative and HIV-positive.

BY Christopher Harrity

December 01 2012 4:00 AM ET

The Usual Suspects
HIV+ and HIV- blood on paper
34" x 28"

Sherer: “Urge and urge and urge ... Always the procreant urge of the world ... ”  — Walt Whitman

For many years, I have maintained a substantial visual resource file of floral structures that resemble human structures. The similarities between floral and human reproductive organs are particularly fascinating when one considers that we don’t even belong to the same division of the natural kingdom!

At some point I began to envision a large composition similar to the resplendent Dutch floral paintings seen in museums. Using photocopies and cut-and-paste collage techniques I composed the most over-the-top blood painting I have ever created. Its scale and complexity required that I divide the picture and my time into practicable studio sessions. Each session involved hand rendering, calculated drying, and then precise varnishing to prevent oxidation. It took me eight grueling days on this tight production schedule to finish the piece. I hope I never create another piece as demanding as this one. The final result is a veritable orgy of flowers. Since the theme deals with promiscuity I decided to add in a few locusts as a matter of vanitas.

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