PURPLE ANGEL is a 26-foot-wide hexaptych, six panels of visual socio-political commentary reflecting the chaos...

2021_Purple Angel_Museum.jpg
 

PURPLE ANGEL

Tanmaya Bingham’s artwork "Purple Angel" is a 26-foot-wide hexaptych, six panels of visual socio-political commentary reflecting the chaos created by a clash of diametrically opposed forces:  the democratic and republican parties. These individually titled panels - compositions of colored pencil, water-based paint, and glitter on panel - together comprise "Purple Angel:" "purple" for the combination of blue and red representing liberal and conservative, and "angel" as a prayer for grace, compassion, and heavenly intervention to guide us through these polarized times.

 

Further echoing this divide, Bingham has separated the skies overseeing the clash into shades of pastel blue and pink. Set against this backdrop is an oscillating strip of purple that narrows and widens as it moves across and around realistic subjects and ethereal elements. This color not only unifies and grounds this landscape, but also underscores the title Purple Angel.

 

Amidst the scene are Michelle Obama and Kamala Harris, watching the moment of impact as two vehicles collide at the epicenter of the collision between opposing sides. Bingham frees these women to allow them to engage in this conversation without fear of being overshadowed by male figures in the political arena, represented by a single canine figure. The two cars crashing at the climax of the work might be recognized as Kennedy’s blue convertible Lincoln limo and the iconic "General Lee," the Dodge Charger from the 1980s Dukes of Hazard television series. According to Bingham she “…chose to use these iconic vehicles as stereotypical examples of the extreme divide of the parties.”

 

Breaking through this complex narrative of color-blocked scenery and detailed figures are dynamic beams of neon-yellow. Seaweed-like forms undulate across the panels foreground to footnote and create tension with the elements in the background. Percolating out of the tips of these aquatic plants and other classic props are playful, glittery bubbles, Bingham’s signature components. These symbolic reminders bring lightness, hope, and sparkle to that which can feel unsurmountable and ambiguous.