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Patty Wallace (b. 1957), Terrace of the Leper King, 1987; acrylic on canvas, diptych: 48 x 36 inches (left) 48 x 72 inches (right); Gift of Gary Nickard and Patty Wallace in Honor of Margaret Viola Nickard, 1989

Patty Wallace (b. 1957), Terrace of the Leper King, 1987; acrylic on canvas, diptych: 48 x 36 inches (left) 48 x 72 inches (right); Gift of Gary Nickard and Patty Wallace in Honor of Margaret Viola Nickard, 1989

The title of Patty Wallace’s large diptych painting refers to a play by Yukio Mishima in which a man with leprosy builds a model of Angkor Vat in Cambodia. The colossal heads in the right panel are from the Tower of Bayon in Angkor Thom, built during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. It unites Hindu and Buddhist iconography on the Bayon, “the world mountain” that tells the history of eternity in the carvings on the surface and in the temple. The deities smile enigmatically as they face away from the twentieth century soldiers who cower from the brutalities of war in Southeast Asia. The stark contrast between Eastern and Western cultures are presented as irreconcilable.--Nancy Weekly