Friday, April 11, 2008

Angels in the Architecture

Abstract 16 went under the palette knife (actually I used a brush). It got acrylic dashed and splashed on it. Then I contemplated the results and my inner desires. I put more blue on and the face of the blue angel appeared. Over several days I worked on it and the columns around it, drawing the image out of the chatter. Then it seemed obvious to put a seraph on the right, and I added the third column, as well. Above is Abstract 16, upside down, which is how it was oriented (but with paint all over it) when the angel emerged. Below is the painting it became. Click on the images for closer looks.

I looked at hundreds of photos of angels, in art and other places, and was distressed at how much we prettify them. In actuality few of us, even as we perhaps feel guarded by angels, would care to encounter one. Their first words to humans are frequently, "Be not afraid," or, "Get up off the ground." They're not particularly patient with us (witness Zecharias struck dumb after doubting the word of Gabriel). The children in Fatima were first approached by an angel, who eventually told them he was the guardian of Portugal; their adult word, later in life, to describe how it felt in the angel's presence was, "Annihilation." They're good, if they're working for God - but they're not for the faint of heart. They may be dazzlingly beautiful, but they're not pretty. I can see how people through the ages might have worshiped them. A mistake, but understandable.

So I painted them as powers, as otherworldly, even as they appear with what humans would recognize as faces.

Long before I finished this I realized I'd call it Angels in the Architecture. You can find that lovely phrase in an unlikely spot - here. Listen carefully (it's near the end) - and if you know who this is, the weird thing is who appears to be singing (and who doesn't).

This one and The Storm will take their turn in place of Cats and Koi and Autumn in the frames over my desk at work.

All painting images referenced above are Copyright (c) 2007 or 2008 by Steve Emery.

2 comments:

Some_myrrh said...

Do you know what this reminds me of? Guardian angels like the ones that guard babies in the womb. The blue angel on the left is almost hovering over a stroller. The seraph on the right guards the pillars of the earth, the secret places where we are woven together, an ancient analogy for the womb and creation.

Steve Emery said...

Thanks! It's fun to know what people see in the paintings. I had never made some of the connections you did here - stands to reason you have a special focus on this sort of symbol right now! I did think of the seraph on the pillar as being like a fundamental supportive force, but I had not thought of that in connection with the womb.