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  • Imagination is the last wilderness. The age of the giants, of heroes and chivalry are long over. But in this painting of St. George and the Dragon, a lone horseman has come across the last dragon inside an empty room.
    They are made of paint and the encounter is as much about the intersection of lines and strokes as it is about two weary, mortal enemies who encounter each other and must act out their roles.
    The dragon is a magnificent actor, with a plume of blood, cadmium red light and deep paint blooming like a flower in his side. He sticks out his tongue and makes a face. But he is already fading into the architecture, becoming a part of the woodwork. He is as much a figment of the horseman’s imagination as he is of the artist.
    The horse is overacting in this tiny stage drama, facing the camera, or the painter, teeth bared and a raised hoof. He is sculpted in paint, the strokes layering and forming a solid mass that is accentuated by the red paint and layering of planes of paint around him.

    And what of our brave knight, a Don Quixote figure, made of armor that is dissolving back into the picture plane, framed by the arch of the doorway. He has come all this way and must make his kill but during the long hunt that has gone on for hundreds of years he has grown to respect his enemy. They are two opposites who complete each other. They are two fictional characters that continue to exist when no one believes in them any longer, or in the power of a painter to convey their struggle. It is a painting made in an age that has declared painting, and especially subject matter irrelevant, yet it continues.
    The horse, knight, dragon and painter have met to make one last stand that will go on and on, far into the future.

    Painting by Jeffrey Ackerman on view March 2014 at the Engine Gallery, Biddeford Maine
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