Jay Noble

Hideous Strength Statement
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If anything describes an overarching theme in my work, it is shifting: shifting meaning, shifting truths, and shifting visual forces. Due to this elusive dynamic, my “Hideous Strength” series has become a growing mystery to me.

They started after reading a book by CS Lewis titled “That Hideous Strength,” where a scene of animals enchanted into demonic rage and released to slaughter their captors is described in violent detail. But I don’t think my work was ever really bound to that particular story. So the meaning behind the subject matter of animals killing humans has become an open question. They are being interpreted any number of ways, and I am happy to hear about these varied interpretations. If you like, here are a few recurring selections: Divine Vegan Justice, Circus Gone Bad, or Portrait of the Artist as an Aggressive Young Male.

or OR - a new one that I heard recently, that I like, is that it is what the screaming kid who is terrified to get on the carrousel ride for the first time is thinking!

For now, I am not interested in pushing any particular symbolic meaning on the viewer so take your pick, or invent your own. Many more, not listed here, regularly enter into my own personal musings. While I do believe that there may be varying degrees of truth to everything I hear, for me these truths are not fixed, often shifting around. In the studio I usually entertain several meanings in a session, from painting to painting and within in any single work.


Also shifting are the visual forces, which I concentrate on no matter what aspect of the subject matter impacts my efforts. When needed, the aforementioned symbolic musings meld into form.  Rhythm, space, color, and flow are among a host of experiences, which excite my imagination. They are flavors that make painting taste good to me, that moreover make art satisfying.

Jay Noble

Paintings and Drawings