Maurice Schmidt

Twin Tractors - Maurice  Schmidt

Twin Tractors, 1989

Painting oil on linen  
50 x 60 in

TWIN TRACTORS (HOSEA 2:23-25) “I will respond, saith the Lord, I will respond to the heavens. And they shall respond to the earth; And the earth shall respond to the corn, and the wine, and the oil;… And I will have compassion upon her that had not obtained compassion; And I will say unto them that were not My people: ‘Thou art My people.’ And they shall say: ‘Thou art my God.’” A tractor changes the color of the field it labors in. A red tractor draws out the tans on the Earth and the purple in the sky. A green tractor, like the John Deere, pulls yellows and blue greens out of the ground and tends to melt into the soft blue elements of the heavens. On a Sabbath morning on my way to services, I saw this scene; these two green tractors reaching the edge of the field near the road as I was driving by. One was coming towards me and the other had just turned around and was going away. It was tilling time and the corn was high. As they came parallel, the one moving forward and the other going back, an incredible burst of color energy was generated between the tractors themselves and simultaneously throughout the field. Almost like an electric burst, the colors showered over me. Symmetries of space were also formed, by the tillers at the ground plane, the farmers in their cabs, sitting exactly on the horizon line and protruding upward into the heavenly plane. Here we see the farmer as midwife to the Earth. He tills and sows and the heavens respond. God waters the earth and the fertile soil responds with her abundant, life-giving offspring. Evoking this Biblical metaphor, Hosea is calling his people, who have strayed like an unfaithful wife, to return, to leave the wilderness of false gods and become again fields of abundance. Hosea describes a very sensuous, almost orgasmic-like embrace between God and man, but it’s an old biblical metaphor for an eternal covenant. Some of this covenantal sensuousness may have crept into the painting. The space between the two tractor cabs form a rectangle of space of about the same proportion as the Ark of the Covenant, and from a distance the yellow hubs of the tractor wheels protrude into the field as the staves of the Ark protruded through the veil of the Holy of Holies as one great sage writes, “like the breasts of a woman.”

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