October 8, 2017

 In MOA Artwork of the Week

Bil-Ling-To, Spring Invasion, Randy Gibbs

Randy G. Gibbs, Bil-ling To (Spring Invasion), 1982, lithograph, 7 1/8 x 8 3/16 inches. Brigham Young University Museum of Art, gift of Thomas H. Majesi, 1985.

On this day in the year 1919, the first U.S. transcontinental air race took place. Sixty-three planes competed in a round-trip, 5,400-mile competition between California and New York, with fifteen planes leaving from California and forty-eight from New York simultaneously. Lieutenant Belvin Maynard won, with a total flight time of 24 hours, 59 minutes, and 49 seconds.

In this lithograph, we see a collage consisting of an airplane, male and female Japanese wood-block characters, and calla lilies. Throughout history, the calla lily has been shown in connection with the Virgin Mary—especially in Annunciation scenes where Mary is informed that she will bear the Son of God—and has long been associated with faith, purity, and holiness. A somewhat incongruous juxtaposition occurs among the seemingly amorous Japanese figures, the calla lilies, and the war plane.

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