Friday, February 11, 2011

Strange Angels

Strange Angels Exhibit 
111 Front St. 
Missoula MT
 On display thru the end of the Month
Artist Talk on Feb 24th 7:00pm
for more info go to their website:

Last Friday was the opening reception for my exhibit at the Brink.  What a blast!  It was packed all night.  Thank everyone who came by.  Don't forget if you want to learn a bit more about the various Strange Angels come on by Thurs. Feb 24 at 7 pm for a little lecture.  In the meantime I thought I'd give you a little tour of the exhibit.  Each piece was based on a particular angel from either Judaic, Christian or Islamic writings.  So here we go:

Strange Angels
Divine envoys.  This is the traditional definition of an angel.  The western traditions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, are full of legends and tales of humankind’s relationship with these messengers.  Their numbers vast, and in some writings, considered countless, and each with task that aligns with certain attributes of that particular angel.  There are good angels and bad angels (usually called demons). There are angels of water, of death, of the moon, of the streams, of alchemy, of sea creatures, etc.  If it can be conceived, most likely there is a legend that connects an angel to it.
Traditionally perceived as soft, fluffy, ethereal things that float through clouds like butterflies huffing helium, I decided to reinterpret these strange beings.  Since they were allegedly created before the tangible universe, it seemed to me that these creatures might need to make certain adjustments in order to enter the physical realm. My goal was to transform these messengers into a combination of physical and supernatural manifestations. Like mystical mechanisms, they remain ethereal and otherworldly yet with a dose of the familiar and tactile.  

Mostly found in Judaic traditions, Sariel is often invoked for his protective powers.  Considered to be a benevolent angel of death.  Legend has it that it was Sariel who retrieved the soul of Moses.

In Islamic traditions, it is said that four angels were sent  to gather dust from the four corners of the world, but only Israfel succeeded; it was from this dust that Adam was created.  According to legend he waits century after century prepared to blow his trumpet to announce the Last Judgment. 

Golem of Prague
Not an angel or demon in the strict sense of the words, this protector was created by man.  
Rabbi Loew created the Golem out of clay and alchemy as means to protect the Jews from anti-Semitic attacks in the Jewish ghetto of Prague during the 16th century.  

A primordial beast of the deep and a massive sea serpent, which, according to legend, is destined to be destroyed at the end of time.

The archangel, who according to Christian legend was God’s lead warrior and commander in the battle of the armies of Light and the armies of darkness.
  Often depicted in struggle with Lucifer as he casts him out of Heaven. 

If you're wondering what is hanging next to the piece...
Guad Pods
little Guadalupes made from tree pods I found in Oaxaca

This angel watches the events of the Cosmos unfold but does little or nothing to interfere as the time and history unfolds.  Angel of solitude and tears, he is said to preside over the death of kings.

 :  The Angel of Mysteries and the keeper of all secret knowledge.  According to myth Raziel is said to have come to the aid of Adam and Eve after their expulsion from Eden by giving them the book Sefer Raziel HaMalach  (Book of Raziel the Angel) as a way for them to find there way back and to better understand their creator.  Other angels disliked this and stole the book from Adam, casting it into the ocean.  Instead of punishing Raziel, God retrieves the book from the sea, with the help of Rahab, and returns it to Adam and Eve.

 A defiant angel of the primordial sea.  Legend has it that Rehab defied God and was destroyed for refusing to separate the upper and lower waters ate the time of creation.  Rahab was once again destroyed for not cooperating, as the Hebrews fled Pharaoh during the parting of the Red Sea.

 Lilith and demon daughters:  Jewish legend has her made of the same material and equal to Adam.  She was his partner before Eve but her refusal to submit to Adam’s will, resulted in her banishment.  
 She fled to the Red Sea where she mated with demons giving birth to a hundred demon children per day.  To spite God she vowed revenge against the descendants of Eve.  Pregnant mothers and young children were at particular risk to Lilith’s revenge.

Angel of healing. He had the task of binding and casting the demon Azazel into a hole and covering him with jagged rocks until Judgment day. 

: Some myths hold him as the demon associated with gluttony, others with pride.  Considered to be a prominent fallen angel during the war in Heaven.

Angel of repentance who watches over the Gates of Eden with a fiery sword, and considered to be as unsympathetic as any demon might be.  He is the holder of the key to the Pit of Hell.

One of the most important angels in Jewish mythology in that this angel was one of the few that was allowed to look onto God’s countenance as well as to sit next to Him.  The reason for this is that he is attributed to being a divine scribe, a keeper of heavenly secrets, and a recorder of the sins and merits of humanity.

There you have it....hope to see you on the 24th.


Angie in AZ said...

This is, I think, my favorite body of work I've seen you do. Wow! Amazing work. My favorite is "Michael" and I love the Guad Pods! Very cool! I have picked up those pods locally. Think they are Ginko??? Love them! I'm sure your show will be a huge hit!

Carol said...

Wow! What a treat to see all these fabulous pieces together. Just wish I lived in the US to maybe get to see the exhibition. As I can't, this is the next best thing. Thanks.

Unknown said...

wow... great collection of works and their stories... it would be amazing to see these in person. i hope its a successful show for you!

Luthien Thye said...

oh my stars!! i am gobsmacked ... i have forgotten how to speak english ... no doubt ... you're de MAN!! if i lived closer, you will have no peace ...

Ottilias Veranda said...

Magnificent!! I hate distances!! I would so want to be there in person to see these absolutely wonderful objects!! Thank you for bringing them to a computer near me!
// Liisa

Diana said...

Amazingly evocative body of work. Great to see all these pieces as a group as well.


love love love

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

These are all exceptional, with the histories behind each angel. I am taken by the tiny *Guad Pods* since the are so small and so rich with detail.
Delightful group for a showing; congratulations on the success of the opening!


yoborobo said...

I love the mystery and sense of journey you've captured with these angels. I tried to pick a favorite, and it's really hard! Maybe Michael, Rehab and Raphael (and all the others! haha). I don't suppose you will have a show in DC some day? I would love to see your work in person. I promise not to drool on them! :) Congrats on an amazing show. Pam

Thespoena McLaughlin said...

Amazing pieces as always. Someday I hope to be able to see some of your work in person as I believe that a lot of depth and detail has to be lost in photography. It would be a great tangible experience.

Aurora Oberloh aka Mossgate Journals said...

I'd say you are beyond "medium gray" in your thinking processes. I always look forward to your new creations and will see you in August for two of your three classes at ArtUnraveled. Wish it could have been for all three.

Thanks for the continued inspiration.

Anonymous said...

Incredible work. You have every reason to be proud of this collection.
Burgundy Belle

Maria Ontiveros said...

These are all so awesome! Congratulations on the exhibit.

deedee hampton said...

Michael- these are soooo beautifully thought out with the components you used & the result is amazing!!! I LOVE them- particularly Lilith & her thousands of children!

Robin said...

I'll trade you a guadpod for some texas buckeye pods... or even dried pomegranates!!!

and I am actively visiting a specific cemetery looking for an overgrown knot in a tree in order to paint a Virgin of Guadalupe on it.... an amazing idea!!! and the search is splendid!!!


Unknown said...

Simply stunning! I always thought angels are probably so powerful, that they are hard to look at... isn't that how the arch angels are described? You work is magnificent. I love your interpretations. I hope to see it in person some day!

tamdoll said...

Very, very interesting!! I hope to get to see these in person one day.

A while ago I set out to study angels from a Jewish perspective, and they were always pretty scary and fierce (to me at least) - no cute and cuddly descriptions in the Hebrew bible. I love what you've done.

Kitchen Benchtops said...

The sculpture and texture work is creative excellence! That photo is totally weird and creepy.