Pierre Boulez Mural ©️2018, Alfred Eaker. (Stained Glass Boulez in the Church of Brother Cobweb @The House of Shadows in Gresham, Oregon).

These are 15 -8ft x 4ft paintings on wood panels. Being raised in an extremely conservative Pentecostal environment, I was paradoxically also pursuing artistic endeavors and exposed to the music of Wagner early on. Taking my drawing pad to church, I rebelled by creating a fictional preacher named Brother Cobweb (the novel about the character is being published next year).

Years later, in 1980, PBS announced the airing of the Pierre Boulez/ Patrice Chereau Ring Cycle. Researching Boulez, two quotes resonated: “Whenever there is extreme conservatism, there is an explosion of revolt,” and “ We must by cultural omnivores and raid all the art forms to enhance our own medium.”

Boulez’s Ring was as radical as promised and in the late 80s, I began to see him often in concert; mostly in Chicago and Cleveland. As I did in that church, I took drawing pads and drew Boulez conducting his own music, Schoenberg, Berg, Webern, Mahler, Bartok, Ravel, Debussy, Varese, and Augusta Read Thomas. I drew quickly, without looking at the paper and over a span of some fifty concerts, produced thousands of rough sketches, some of which I did paintings from.

When I moved to Portland and was hired as a muralist for the House of Shadows, I was given my own Church of Brother Cobweb where I perform the character. This year, I created for the Church this Boulez mural for its “stained glass windows.” Most of the paintings are taken from Boulez conducting in Chicago; others in Cleveland. That they are on wood, for me, echoes the diaphanous spikiness found in some of the music. This is my idiosyncratic scoring to a twilight of the tiny god: Brother Cobweb. Alfred Eaker.

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About Alfred Eaker

Alfred Eaker is a fine arts painter, an award-winning independent filmmaker, and has a masters of theological studies in the arts. His Masters thesis was: "Justification By Imagination.The Marian Art Of Thomas Merton." For nine years, he has been a film critic (for 366 Weird Movies). His essays for that site have been published in the yearbooks and quoted in various film biographies. He is the author of the forthcoming novel, "Brother Cobweb." He currently lives in Gresham, Oregon where he performs his character, Brother Cobweb at The House Of Shadows.