Peter Booths painting titled 1981 depicts a crowd of mutant men compacted in a small space appearing to worship a mutant man with a crocodile head in a red cape sitting above them on a stump. The crowd is composed of only me, most with mouths agape others with their tongues handing out like fools. The crowd looks up to the figure following it with blind awe. The crowd appear as a sadistic bunch with solid builds and chunky faces, wearing Mohawks, masks and spiked dog collars. One figure mysteriously wrapped in bandages like an Egyptian mummy is the only figure who faces away from the tyrant leader of the pack and appears to be heading away. The heavy clothing matches the description of Booths main figure from painting 1977 who is leaving the scene of decomposing faces and what looks like the sketchy version of where’s Wally. The painting is done in Booths typical pallet of grey, black and red with glimpses of other colours such as orange and yellow scattered about. Booths work is rich and aggressive in colour but not as violent as painting 1977, though his brushstrokes are still done in a hasty manner.
Booths painting portrays the evil side of humanity in a gruesome style that I found represented hell. The leader wears a red cape that suggest power and is surrounded by corruption in the form of followers, all who look like bad people with twisted expressions. The lead mutant features are what most depictions of the devil are; a twisted mutant monster. The crocodile head signifies a predator and mummified figure down the bottom are both consistent with Egyptian mythology and the Gods being half human half animal suggesting this figure is viewed and worshiped as a God while he sits on his stump and preaches to the ‘people.’ The hellish scene and leader oddly remind me of Hitler and his army. I found the mummified figure down the bottom in heavy clothing to be the main figure from 1977 his covered face consists with the ‘wool pulled over the eyes’ term and is leaving the scene. Perhaps this is the inside of the city the figure in 1977 is leaving, the havoc and destruction scene leaking out of the city is because of this crowd and a follow on painting.
I found this piece hard at first to decipher and understand, I still don’t think I do, but find it is deep with multiple layers of understanding which keeps viewers captivated and puzzled, involving them in the riddle like structure. The Red is well spaced and spread out in important manner, perhaps signifying the second in commands and right-hand men which adds more intrigue, does this mean something or just a coincident? The white, grey and black colour tones work well in making the red stand out while the hastily brushstrokes work well in creating a rough and realistic depiction as well as adding a dark air that shows the dangers of these creatures. The starkness helps draw the eye and gives the illusion that your about to step into this scene, which is confronting and a little scary. Overall I wouldn’t want to hang this in my house, it’s an interesting piece but a bit of a downer to look at all day – everybody would leave depressed and suicidal.