BRIAN SICKNICK'S HARROWING OF HELL
Pyrography, Acrylic, Watercolor, Oil, Plastic Film,
and Imitation Gold, Silver & Copper Leaf on Birch
20x16x1.5 in., 2021
Original On Hold
Officer Brian Sicknick was murdered on January 6, 2021 while he was attempting to protect the future of the United States Government. This image intends to portray the Hell that he experienced in the moments that led up to his death, his descent into death, and the resurrection and notoriety that he has experienced after his death.
Amid the non-stop news coverage of the events of January 6 in the weeks that followed, I saw an image of a DIY Gallows holding both a noose and an American flag with the capitol building in the background being shown in a story that I was watching one night. The memory of that image haunted me until I found a way to use it. This image puts the events of Jan. 6 into the 'Harrowing of Hell' tradition (e.g. The Descent into Limbo (ca. 1502) by Dionisius and his Workshop).
I chose to use the space where the stars should be as a space to depict another American hero, Daniel Hodges who survived being crushed in a door of the capitol building. I used plastic film to create the depth of focus in the layers of the panes of glass that make up the revolving door as it closes in on the figure representing Officer Hodges with the imitation silver and gold leaf halo.
Notice the side wound of Christ imposed onto the capital building as it prepared to be massacred, stigmata on the bald eagle statue at the top of the capitol building, “Pray for us…Brian,” in Greek at the bottom of the image, and the cruciform halo over Officer Sicknick.
This piece has been featured in two exhibitions, and is currently being held at Jones Gallery in Kansas City, MO.