Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Gothic Art in Spotlight: The Fallen Angels

Since I visited about 10 art museums on my vacation in New York, there is a lot of material for a few Gothic Art in Spotlight -posts. Lucky for me it is not like these artworks get outdated, even if I post about them two months later! Today's spotlight is reserved for biblical characters.

This statue was made by Salvatore Albano, an Italian sculptor from the 19th century. The title of the work is The Fallen Angels and it was done in two parts; the base is from 1883 and the marble part is from 1893. This statue is owned by the Brooklyn Museum in New York. It is one of the biggest art museums in the United States along with MoMA and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
These fallen angels are situated in the main lobby of the museum. They are surrounded by vast emptiness and light that comes from the windows high up in the ceiling. In the sign that tells a little about the artwork it says the next:

"At the apex of this sculptural group, a sword-wielding Satan struggles alongside his rebel angels against God and his army (both absent) in heaven. -- " 

I am quite confident that the Brooklyn Museum has situated this statue intentionally in the lobby under those windows that are letting the light from sky (heaven) to descend on The Fallen Angels, simulating the army of heaven and their power over this small group of rebels.
In the base is a defeated angel and according to the museum's sign it is probably Satan again. I am not arguing against it, especially since the sign also points out that having a continuing narrative in a sculpture was common in the ancient Roman sculptures that were the source of inspiration for the artist Salvatore Albano. As you can see from this photo, the defeated Satan no longer has wings, though the one still trying to fight has a handsome pair of feathery appendage.
These close-ups show how vivid and full of emotion these characters are. According to the little sign, there are snakes squirming in their hair but for me it was hard to spot with those hairs being a bit curly.
 In this next photo one snake is visible, it is on Satan's head and looks a bit like a horn sticking up. It is in fact a snake's head. The characters are otherwise classically beautiful and without knowing the name of this work and hence not knowing these are fallen angels, the snakes are the only clue for it in the actual statue. Without the snakes this could be a graceful group of angels fighting something else than God of Christians.
Hope you enjoyed my post, next time it is time for a Creepy Reads Review!

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Gothic Art in Spotlight: Horned self portrait of Rona Pondick

I am back from New York! Well, have been for more than a week but unfortunately I have been terribly busy. I really liked that city! Not sure if I have the need to go there again anytime soon but still my vacation was very successful and enjoyable. I am going to make some posts of the creepy or disturbing artwork I saw there during these few weeks. The first is a sculpture that was in the exhibition Self: Portraits of Artists in Their Absence at the National Academy's Museum.

The National Academy was established 1825 by a group of distinguished American artists. The Royal Academy in London gave inspiration to them to form their own Academy. The mission is simple: “promote the fine arts in America through instruction and exhibition.” Each member of the National Academy is asked to produce a self portrait for the Academy's records and the exhibition Self was created from those works.

In the stairway to the next floor of the exhibition was an interactive artwork. The visitors were allowed to write and draw on the walls and leave an imprint of themselves to the Self exhibition. This was my favorite quote on the wall:

There were many beautiful paintings and emotionally rich video installations and breathtakingly gorgeous sculptures but I feel one especially fits the idea of contemporary art that appeals goths, which is the point of my Gothic Art in Spotlight posts. At least most of the time. :D

The sculpture I am about to introduce is made by Rona Pondick years 2000-2001. Pondick has a unique style in making sculptures and many of them are hybrids of humans and animals or humans and trees. They are grotesque in the old sense of the word. During the Renaissance the word grotesque used to refer mainly to artwork that depicted hybrids with qualities from humans, animals, and plants.

I went to Pondick's website and fell in love with her work! The use of metal in the trees especially gives them this eerie extraterrestrial feeling. Still, this post is about Ram's Head, so let's concentrate on that one. Since it was presented in the exhibition of self portraits, I believe I am safe to assume the face of the head is depicting the artist herself. Either metaphorically or more like actually resembling the artist. You can see from this photo that the lighting of the statue has its own meaning. The shape of the shadow is long and actually resembles a real ram's head.

The material used is yellow blue stainless steel. I am amazed how many different textures there are in this work! The expression of the sculpture is interesting, I can't decide whether it is sullen, or annoyed or what else.

The horns are massive and I found the earrings made out of little heads delightfully creepy. They seem to reach out to traditions of voodoo and shrunken heads. The shiny part of the top of the head looks to me like it is the actual skull beneath the less shiny skin. And because the skull has been exposed, the facial expression has hints of pain in it. Do you see what I mean? There are of coarse numerous ways to interpret this work of art but that is one of them.

Thanks for reading and my next post will be in two weeks!

Friday, 3 April 2015

Picturesque greetings from New York!

I am currently in New York City on a holiday and I wanted to share some of the things I've seen so far. I will do more posts about art I'll see here but these are some goth-y or pretty things I've seen so far!

These remains of a sticker graffiti are super cute, so sad that we do not know how it continued! Altough I quite like the combination now, with the reading person spray painted through a template.

 Yesterday I visited The Merchant's House Museum. It is a Row House from the 19th century and it is perfectly preserved with all furniture, clothes etc. Victorian aesthetics are close to many a goths heart.

Here is another picture, showing one of the gowns the lady of the house owned.

Enjoy your weekend, I am now off to explore NYC some more!