Works In Progress

Genesis is probably the most-loved and widely read passage in the Bible. The story of Adam and Eve in Garden of Eden is so inspirational that there are almost as many artistic versions of the scene from "The Temptation" as there are artists. But every single version omits the one most important event of Genesis---the fact that Eve must have become pregnant after eating the forbidden fruit. For the word "Genesis" means "birth" according to the dictionary definition.

God is so furious at Eve's transgression. that He not only banishes the happy couple from Eden, He condemns EVERY woman in the world to forever deliver their babies in pain and suffering. This vengeful and malevolent punishment so explicitly described in the Old Testament, has made the subjugation and mistreatment of women morally acceptable by woman haters throughout history and forms the basis for the spread of misogyny in all Western religions.

This negative attitude toward women was displayed early on when, at the beginning of Genesis, our loving and benevolent Maker made Adam in his own image but made Eve out of spare parts: a rib from Adam's body. Today, in any art museum in America, you can find paintings and sculptures of women being flagellated, decapitated, raped, tortured and burnt at the stake. But none of them ever exhibit artworks that depict unborn babies gestating in their mothers' wombs.

With "Original Son," Gardner finally corrects that egregious oversight. His audacious composition now shows Adam and Eve next to a fruit tree around which is wrapped the obligatory snake. But he also portrays Eve pregnant with her first son, proudly visible for the whole world to see. With "Praise Allah, It's a Girl," Gardner introduces his never-before-seen portrait of a devout Muslim woman with a peep-hole in her burka celebrating her forthcoming delicate condition.

Both sculptures on this page are actually cardboard prototypes painted to make them look like bronze castings. They are the patterns that will eventually be used to make the rubber molds need- ed to transform them into solid bronze sculptures. They have not yet been finished or cast in bronze for lack of sufficient funds. Yet Norman Gardner believes they are among his most important works of art. That's because both compositions graphically reveal our society's failure to give women the recognition and. respect they deserve for their miraculous ability as givers of new life.