By Averia Wright
“And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.” Revelations 12:3-4
The octagonal shape of “The Dragon” is striking for Amos Ferguson being that it is not its normal 36 x 30 sheet of cardboard that Ferguson is known for and is aptly applied to the depiction Ferguson chose to paint. The seven-headed dragon from the book of Revelations in the bible is a phenomenal story that most will not forget based on the writers extensive description.
Ferguson illustrates stars littered across the piece with one is at the tip of the dragons tail. Standing on the earth the stars seem to meet him, his wings are outstretched in all its wonder, the seven heads are all bearing sharp teeth with red lined mouths. He is described in the story as a red dragon, however Ferguson uses green and yellow stokes along with red strokes to design the dragon’s body. His use of colour shows some awareness of a colour theory whereas the complimentary green causes the dragon to seem redder and analogous yellow gives a more dynamic accent to the colour. The way that he simplifies the description and does not add every single detail to the painting can be looked at two ways: either an oversight or a brilliant simplification of the subject matter. Seeing that Ferguson always states that he “paints by faith and not by sight” the latter seems more accurate.
Intuitive painter Amos Ferguson’s deliberate use of house paint in his paintings and the precision of the application to cardboard is a feat in itself to be commended. In exhibiting Amos Ferguson: Bahamian Outsider this collection of paintings shows a considerable volume of his work consists of religious subject matter. Ferguson sometimes had headaches and felt that he had to paint what was in his head in order to get rid of the headache. His faith in God is continually depicted and each story he chose showed its importance.
“The Dragon” is on view in Amos Ferguson: Bahamian Outsider. The NAGB is open Tuesday to Saturday, 10:00 to 4:00pm, Sunday 12:00 to 4:00 pm.