A skydiver jumps out of a plane, and a parachute bursts open and fills with air, like a baby’s first breath. There’s a period of elation and expansive horizons. Then a line crosses, something technical goes wrong, and instead of a calm, rational descent, the parachute and its counterweight spin through the sky. The skydiver crashes down far away from the intended landing site, and the parachute slowly crumples to the ground. Afterwards, people come and carefully pack the fabric away.
This narrative closely mimics many Christian narrative cycles. There is a martyrdom scene where the crashed skydiver lands in a backyard, and a burial scene where a woman is bundled into the orange and white striped silk. Some characters are good first responders, some are ambivalent about the crisis. One guy is mostly upset about dropping his beer in the grass. The fate of the skydiver is left uncertain.
Some viewers find these paintings epically sad, others rather funny. I work on the paintings for months, and my own feelings on the subject shift and change.
I find meaning in both the comic and the tragic interpretations of the story.