Wooden Angel, graphite on paper, 18″ by 24″
This image is something I imagined for a drawing class. The Angel is a Mexican folk sculpture, to which I added an imaginary sword. The sculpture is a studio pet of professor John Erickson in the University of Utah Art Department. He uses it for sketching exercises in his classes. When I saw the grim face of the model and the upheld arm it made me think of a sword-bearing soldier of some sort. That gave rise to various bloody thoughts. Eventually various decapitation images by Caravaggio and Gentileschi came to mind. I just took the hands off the mental brakes and eventually settled on this image. It took me a while to settle on using Michelangelo’s Pieta figure as a model for the head, but I liked the contrast of cold, classical marble with the wooden folk art sculpture. And the associations with Christianity and European cultural hegemony seemed particularly loaded and in conflict with the self-possessed folk image. I wouldn’t assign any particular narrative gist to the image, more a bunch of interrelated associations I have with various visual images and styles. In other words I’m not sure what it means only that I have a ton of various vaguely formulated or articulated ideas associated with this image, thoughts of the interaction of the New World, and Old World, of indigenous cultures with western culture, of Christianity with traditional spiritual beliefs, of religion with life and death, of David versus Goliath, of western art and folk art, of wood and stone, and primitive artifacts opposed to classically accomplished ones.
detail, Wooden Angel