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Spirit of the Ages Series

As an avid student of history I have come to believe that there is a flow to history and that history is cyclical - this has all happened before and it will all happen again. I began to contemplate the age I live in and the beliefs that drive the political, religious, and social actions of my time. My reaction to this spirit of my age is the motivation for the paintings in this series.

  • Dance of Death

    A black & white TV lies abandoned among other trash at the edge of a field, being slowly overgrown by vines. Although broken and without power, an altered version of an Edvard Munch painting “The Dance of Life” (1899) is displayed. I had seen scenes like this many times before while passing by a house at night. In every home the dancing light can be seen in at least one window, and maybe more. The message has been carefully crafted, delivered, and usually unknowingly absorbed. The message controls the present and in so doing seeks to shape the future. We think we see and have our own opinions, but I wonder if it even matters. After all, isn’t it just entertainment? The oil painting is on a 18x24 inch (46x61 centimeter) wood panel and the artist is Steve Bendykowski. From the Sprit of the Age series. $25,000.

  • Taught by Azazel

    There was something inside of me that I could not express in words, and from experience knew that only when the painting was finished could I begin to contemplate what it all meant. On the surface what you see is a man in great distress turning to escape the barren desert he finds himself in, the gathering storm, and a beautiful woman grabbing his hair. Her long red hair swirls throughout the composition, but has not entwined him yet. The story of Azazel from the Book of Enoch came to mind, when the “world was changed. There was a great lack of reverence for God, and much fornication, and they went astray, and all their ways became corrupt.” The oil painting is on a 18x24 inch (46x61 centimeter) wood panel and the artist is Steve Bendykowski. From the Spirit of the Age series. $25,000.

  • Crossing the Line

    In the painting a nude female looks directly at the viewer while stepping over what at first glance appears to be a fallen branch - a branch that is clearly blocking the path she is taking. The “fallen branch” she is straddling is connected to the leafless & threatening trees on both sides of her. It is not clear whether she is moving towards or away from us. If she is moving away the path she will take leads straight into a field of dead grass lit by an ominous sky. If she is moving towards us the path she will encounter is flanked by lush, green grass. Whichever way she is going she is crossing the line. The oil painting is on a 18x24 inch (46x61 centimeter) wood panel and the artist is Steve Bendykowski. From the Spirit of the Age series. $25,000.

  • It Seems Like a Good Idea

    For those familiar with art history the depiction of a reclining female nude will come as no surprise. As early as 1510 the renaissance painter Giorgione painted “The Sleeping Venus” in a landscape. The tradition continued with Titian’s “Venus of Urbino” (1534) & Manet’s “Olympia” (1865) to name a few. To deny that there is a connection between these paintings and mine would be ill-advised, but exactly what the connection is and how far it goes needs to be carefully considered. In “It Seems Like a Good Idea” a reclining nude female gazes at the viewer, a gaze that could easily be seen as seductive. The rough and weathered tree has caused her no discomfort, nor has the unidentifiable species of vine that has begun to wrap around her legs and hands. Behind the vines red paint lends an ominous feel as does the sky that has begun to glow red. The danger is apparent, yet, even with all this it seems like a good idea. The oil painting is on a 18x24 inch (46x61 centimeter) wood panel and the artist is Steve Bendykowski. From the Spirit of the Age series. $25,000.

  • Spirit of the Age

    In this self-portrait we see the artist peering from behind his painting; he has copied a portion of a 15th century painting attributed to the school of Hieronymus Bosch. The artist has made changes to the interior of the tent and the flag in the center of the painting, making it more than a mere copy. The artist is using a tablet as a source to paint from, and the tablet displays a 15th century Hieronymus Bosch painting titled “Extracting the Stone of Madness”. It was thought a stone in the head was the cause of madness and removing the stone was a cure. It is curious that what is displayed on the tablet does not “visually match” the painting on the easel. However, the manner in which the doctor is holding his knife and the way the artist is holding his brushes tells us that the display on the tablet and his painting are indeed linked. The oil painting is on a 16x20 inch (41x51 centimeter) wood panel and the artist is Steve Bendykowski. From the Spirit of the Age series. Collection of the Artist.

Decline of an Empire

Throughout the expanse of time nations have risen and fallen. Ruins, relics and their art tell us something about who they were, what they thought, and what they valued. And then there are some that have fallen and faded away without leaving a trace. Why would I think that my nation will be any different than those who have risen and fallen before? Where we go one, we go all.

  • A Long Time Coming

    A purposeful search led me to an all but forgotten winding road where something caught my eye, compelling me to stop. Illuminated by a dull overcast sky stood a once proud and well-built dwelling. Whoever built this house took pride in the construction and craftsmanship. Now abandoned the weeds and vines were taking over, chocking out the last bit of life it once had. Why would such a place would be left to such a fate? I wandered through the dry grass exploring the structures letting it all soak in. I was only dimly aware of how it touched me, but I knew it held deep meaning, and knew someday it would be a painting. 38 years later the painting was finished. It was a long time coming. The oil painting is on a 24x36 inch (61x91 centimeter) wood panel and the artist is Steve Bendykowski. From the Decline of an Empire series. $36,000.

  • It's Getting Closer

    While exploring the tundra in a remote area I came upon a stand of aspen trees that had been mowed down by an early spring snow. I wondered how the onslaught would effect those that remained as aspens are a single organism. These were not just fallen trees. It was another picture of the decline of an empire. It’s getting closer and much sooner than most would imagine. The oil painting is on a 24x30 inch (61x76 centimeter) wood panel and the artist is Steve Bendykowski. From the Decline of an Empire series. $30,000.

  • Remains of a Dream

    A quonset hut building sits in the strong sunlight casting long and heavy shadows. It is unclear if the building is abandoned or still in use. If it is in use there is much that needs to be repaired. Nothing can be seen through the deep, inky black windows so we can never know by just looking. We must be patient, watch, and see. I do not think we have much longer to wait. The oil painting is on a 24x36 inch (61x91 centimeter) wood panel and the artist is Steve Bendykowski. From the Decline of an Empire series. $36,000.

  • It Won’t Take Long

    Heavy duty hardware cloth has replaced the glass that once covered the now weathered window frames. The screen is still intact, but in one corner something has rolled back a small section. Although the wood is very weathered there are still bits of white paint clinging to the surface. Vines are growing up the side of the building casting shadows as they climb. It won’t take long now. The oil painting is on a 18x24 inch (46x61 centimeter) wood panel and the artist is Steve Bendykowski. From the Decline of an Empire series. $25,000.

  • Fenced In

    This painting depicts a close-up of a common metal post that has been overgrown with weeds. Tentacles of a vine have reached out ensnaring the post and offering no way of escape - either for the vine or post. We are fenced in. The oil painting is on a 18x24 inch (45.7x61 centimeter) wood panel and the artist is Steve Bendykowski. From the Decline of an Empire series. $25,000.

  • We Know Best, Don’t We?

    On the rural gravel roads a once majestic house struggles against the elements, but it is only a matter of time before it falls. A 1960’s Ford sits in the green grass unable to move as the wheels have been removed. The trees are black and menacing as is the stormy sky in the background. So much time and effort had been expended, to what end? Even so, we know best don’t we? $30,000. The oil painting is on a 24x30 inch (61x76 centimeter) wood panel and the artist is Steve Bendykowski. From the Decline of an Empire series.

  • No One to Blame But Yourself

    A heavy door has been ravaged and scarred, leaving only small bits of paint that once decorated it. Two holes have been bored in the door to allow a strong chain to pass through and be secured with a padlock. You can see where the chain has worn into the wood which could have been caused by wind or heavy use. Which one we can not know for sure. Is to lock out or lock in? Either way there is no one to blame but yourself. The oil painting is on a 24x30 inch (61x76 centimeter) wood panel and the artist is Steve Bendykowski. From the Decline of an Empire series. $30,000.

  • Resurrection

    A weathered and twisted tree stretches from the bottom all the way to the top of the painting. The weathered bark is realistically rendered but halfway up the tree bark takes on an abstract, almost spiritual quality. The clouds in the background are without a doubt threatening, but it is not clear if the storm is coming or is past, but the bright green shoot growing from the middle of the tree tells us there is hope. The oil painting is on a 24x30 inch (61x76 centimeter) wood panel and the artist is Steve Bendykowski. From the Decline of an Empire series. $30,000.

  • Result of the Sacrifice

    A well built home has collapsed apparently from the impact of a large fallen tree, but judging by the weathered beams and siding it was already well on its way. The sky is blue indicating fair weather but the barren tree limbs are covered with frost. Something is not quite right as there are strange cloud formations in the sky and what appears to be red flames in the dark corners of the structure. The oil painting is on a 24x36 inch (61x91 centimeter) wood panel and the artist is Steve Bendykowski. From the Decline of an Empire series. $36,000.

  • An Occasional Slaughter

    A well built home has collapsed apparently from the impact of a large fallen tree, but judging by the weathered beams and siding the structure was already well on its way down. The sky is blue indicating fair weather but the barren tree limbs are covered with frost. Something is not quite right as there are strange cloud formations in the sky and what appears to be red flames in the dark corners of the structure. The oil painting is on a 24x36 inch (61x91.4 centimeter) wood panel and the artist is Steve Bendykowski. From the Decline of an Empire series. $36,000.

  • Washed Out and Laid Bare

    Swift moving waters have washed away the dirt from the roots, laying bare the foundation that supports the unseen above. Just what is above we can only guess. Now, when the light is just right the roots are laid bare for all to see. The painting is on a 24x36 inch (61x91.4 centimeter) wood panel and the artist is Steve Bendykowski. From the Decline of an Empire series. $36,000.

  • Consequence of Decay

    At the top of the weathered siding is a window whose glass was lost long ago. A heavy screen was installed to keep something out, but has been penetrated by something. Whatever did the damage did not get away without consequence as evidenced by the blood. But that is the consequence of decay. The oil painting is on a 16x20 inch (40.6x50.8 centimeter) wood panel and the artist is Steve Bendykowski. From the Decline of an Empire series. $20,000.

  • High Noon

    This one room school house complete with the cattle chute was photographed in 1982 in western rural Iowa, USA. Not much was needed to complete the allegory except the addition of a threatening sky and steam punk elements. The time on the clock tells the story: it has stopped just before high noon. The oil painting is on a 24x36 inch (61x91.4 centimeter) wood panel and the artist is Steve Bendykowski. From the Decline of an Empire series. $36,000.

  • Which Way?

    An outhouse in a lifeless woods rots away under a gray, sunless sky. There are skulls and bones littering the grounds. The outhouse red door is partially open, or is it closed? In front a rusted sign nailed to a post reads “One Way”. The arrow on the sign is covered with vines so it is impossible to know if the arrow points to the door or the way of escape. The oil painting is on a 24x36 inch (61x91.4 centimeter) wood panel and the artist is Steve Bendykowski. From the Decline of an Empire series. $36,000.

  • Sooner Than You Know

    This barn was built to last and once was a storehouse but know lies empty. Now that the protective paint has fallen away the wood has begun to rot. The barren limbs of the trees are covered with frost and the sky holds no promise for a change. If you look close you will see skulls and bones tucked away between the boards. It will come sooner than you know. The oil painting is on a 24x36 inch (61x91.4 centimeter) wood panel and the artist is Steve Bendykowski. From the Decline of an Empire series. $36,000.

  • Obstruction of the Light

    In this painting we see a house slowly being covered with vines. A window whose purpose is to protect us from the weather and let the light in has been compromised. Some of the glass is broken and part of the screen is torn. And soon, if nothing is done, the vines will obstruct all of the light. The oil painting is on a 24x36 inch (61x91.4 centimeter) wood panel and the artist is Steve Bendykowski. From the Decline of an Empire series. $36,000.

  • Fallen and Decayed

    On the surface this may appear to be nothing more than a meticulously rendered fallen log next to a foundation that is need of repair. However, the rotting log and vines creeping up the side of the house suggest that there is something more here than meets the eye. Is it the log that is fallen and decayed or is it something else? What is fallen and decayed? The oil painting is on a 16x20 inch (41x51 centimeter) wood panel and the artist is Steve Bendykowski. From the Decline of an Empire series.

Corporate By-product Series

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