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A visual analysis of No More by Josephine Wall
Josephine Wall painted No More as a warning, that if the planet is not taken care of properly it may eventually decide to defend or fight back. I found this painting on a site known as Josephine Wall’s Gallery. All of Mrs. Wall’s paintings have a hidden lesson for people to find and learn from. No More by Josephine Wall shows Gaia, mother Earth, stepping in to protect her creatures from pollution and darkness. The painting, however, may also be about how Gaia has decided to destroy human kind for their destruction of her and her creatures; each section of this painting brings forth different emotions from the observer. I personally feel that the first interpretation is more likely because of the painting is split into two unequal pieces and that the bright colors used on Gaia’s side make Gaia appear more of a savior than a destroyer.
The No More painting is split into two unequal pieces. The largest piece contains Gaia and all that she stands for. This piece’s scenery includes beautiful mountains with clean flowing rivers, birds flying overhead in the clear sky, clean green grass, and bright flowers and plants. This section also holds animals taking cover underneath Gaia, and animals running to Gaia. The animals hiding underneath Gaia appear to be there for protection from humans and their pollution, while the animals running towards Gaia can be viewed as coming to help Gaia against the threat of humanity. This section has bright and happy colors; the mountains are a luscious green, the river a flowing blue, and Gaia herself with her hair and dress the colors of a rainbow. Gaia’s hands shoot forth a stream of rainbow light. This leads to the interpretation that Gaia does not wish to kill mankind, but save them. If Gaia wished for destruction, then she would have a dangerous weapon, perhaps a sword or a gun.
The smaller section of the painting includes humans and the destruction that they have wrought. In the background rests a city that spits smoke into the already polluted sky; mushroom shaped clouds fill the sky. Dark and murky colors fill humanity’s part of the painting; dead grass covers the ground with no plant life in sight, pollution has blackened the city, and behind the blindfolded humans dark orange fires burn. This leads to the interpretation that human kind has destroyed the Earth themselves. There is no one with knives or guns at their back to give the impression of forced destruction. No, these humans all stand and sit blindfolded on the murky dead grass, shoulders slumped knowing their own blindness has caused their fate. They wait for Gaia to rid their home of destruction and pollution, understanding that afterwards they will have to start anew. The different sizes of the two pieces of this painting give the viewer an idea about which side of the painting will emerge victorious. The fact that Gaia’s half of the painting is larger is no coincidence.
The two pieces of No More each cause different feelings to emerge from the viewer. Mankind’s side of the painting gives the viewer feelings of guilt, remorse, sadness, and pity. This side causes the viewer to feel pity knowing that this scene could have been prevented if only humankind had decided, as a whole, to care for the planet and its’ creatures. When the viewer considers the painting, feelings of pity can emerge for these people whose blindness destroyed their home. When the observer moves their eyes to Gaia’s side of the painting, different feelings arise; feelings of hope, happiness, and serenity.
The observer could interpret the painting as Gaia deciding to step in and save the planet, her creatures, and mankind; however, that is not the only future that this painting shows. The other outcome this painting predicts is not a happy one. In the painting Gaia is in a battle-like stance and animals are appearing to march on behind her against humanity. It may be that Gaia has stepped in to save the planet and her creatures, not mankind. This angle shows a Gaia with an army of animals behind her ready to destroy mankind in revenge for the destruction of her planet. On the other side of the painting the humans all stand by, none looking ready for any type of battle; instead they appear to accept their fate at the hands of Gaia.
This perspective brings forth a whole different set of feelings: loss, acceptance of the inevitable, pity, sadness, and determination. The viewer feels a type of acceptance that these humans will not survive the aftermath of their blatant destruction of their homes and the planet, along with pity that the humans themselves have caused their own fate. The viewer also feels sadness for the coming loss of life, but realizing that it is both needed and inevitable. The final and most important feeling that this interpretation gives is a feeling of determination to not allow the fate of the humans in the painting to ever happen in reality. The viewer moves on from this painting determined to take Josephine Wall’s lesson to heart.
No More can be interpreted in two different ways; there is the side where Gaia has come to save the planet and all of its inhabitants. The other side is one of revenge where Gaia has come to save her creatures and destroy humanity in revenge for the destruction they have caused. No More invokes many powerful feelings: hope, sadness, and acceptance. No matter which way the viewer examines this painting the lesson is clear; humankind needs to take care of its home and the creatures that share Earth as well.
Wall, Josephine. "No More." Josephine Wall: No More. Josephine Wall Gallery, n.d. Web. 29 Jan. 2013.