“Rape of Madison”, 16×20 oil on canvas, by Rog Lyngaas, 22feb10, triple primary palette.
I have wanted to be vocal about the violent crime of rape for awhile. Have you ever noticed that several excellent painters have painted paintings with the word “rape” in the title? Many include a woman in the process of being raped, yet they refer to a city or a place as well… like “Rape of Europe” or “Rape of Paris”.
This composition does not have a woman, but a place. Yes, Madison, Wisconsin, has a lot to do with rape. By the time I was twenty, I learned that my home town had one of the highest rape rates of any city in the United States. I am not proud of this fact. Hopefully, over that last 30 years that statistic has decreased significantly.
Regardless, even if my former hometown has solved its “rape problem”, the blemish of its rape will remain. Environmental rape, is different. But in the case of the city of Madison it is very severe. It is another skeleton in its closet. Keep in mind, even when I was young I recall that it exuded great pride in its “Greenness”… like it is environmentally sound or something. The truth is far from that. In fact it shines ignorance.
No I am not talking about the harbor that was the mouth of a spring fed trout creek near our house that was converted into an open sewer. That is only a minor blemish, and only affected a few people.
I am talking about the fact that the center of town is truly not an Isthmus. It was made an Isthmus, by the white man. We drained significant portions of the marsh lands that made up Madison, to create dry land. Up to half the city was at one time, marsh land. Having seen some of the original maps from the 1800’s proves this.
Given this fact, I do not ever want to ever hear of some one who lives there claim to be an environmentalist. The damage has been done, like in any rape, and we cannot recover the past.
Except in a painting composition, as you see.