The present work was triggered by the following paragraph from the opening passage to the Introduction of 'The Parable of the Beast' by John Bleibtreu, which encapsulates the ideas central to 'In the Dark Descent' and Dubsky's work at that time.
It begins 'The voice of the turtle is heard in the land, heard in all the hearts - and in the voices of men and women speaking to one another. It is not the voice of the dove, that sweet melancholy sound which the translators of the Authorised Version presumably had in mind; it is the croak of isolation and alienation issuing from within a vault of defensive armour - the voice of the reptilian turtle. This armour we wear - the armour of technology separating us from the natural world - has created us latterly in the conditions of exiles ... ' (see Exhib. cat. South London Art Gallery, X Factor 1984, 18 May - 21 June 1984, p.19)
Mario Dubsky writes of this canvas and the works of this time, ' It was precisely this sense of the 'defensive armour' that I was trying to evoke in the black shapes in the paintings I did at that time, the green grounds of which are as intentionally symbolic as is the black ... In the Dark Descent conjurs huge girders become creatures trapped by their weight and mass in rows, stepping across armada-like in a downward journey to their geophysical tomb.' (ibid. p.19)