Angels is a group exhibition exploring the concept of angels in popular culture. Curator Gary Gaffney (mixed media angel seen below) describes angels as messagers of hope and comfort, but also more broadly, angels announce, condemn, guide and guard, and define God while acting to mediate the nature of humans trapped in time and mortality.
Gaffney selected regional artists working in various media: bronze, steel, porcelain, cardboard, paper, ceramic, fiberglass, wood, photography, glass, amongst others. The exhibition explores the cultural and personal understanding of angels through the eyes of these artists.
Tony Becker uses images of ladders drawn on translucent fabric veils for the piece, Our Lady of Angels, which bears testament to 92 elementary school children who died in a fire in Chicago, 1958. Firemen leaned their ladders under blackened, two story windows only to discover the children had succumed to the smoke, heat and flames. Farron Allen incorporates bronze and steel in her piece Earthbound Angels. In the passed decades, Allen has lost friends and lovers to AIDS, watching the situation as it goes from being unexplored, to an epidemic in the public arena where presidentsnow create organizations for financial assistance. She questions how fast life comes at you and how fast life comes to an end.
Cultural references include Lord Byron’s The Destruction of Sennacherib in a mixed media piece by Celene Hawkins, the film Wings of Desire in a mixed media piece by Christian Schmit (a detail is seen above), and Milton’s Paradise Lost in a photograph by Anthony Lusensman. The photograph Rydell shows a woman descending down a narrow staircase in a former bothel surrounded by artificial light suggesting the lost holy raiments of golden wings and halo. Viewers can see how Milton’s fallen angel has impacted Lusensman, just as the idea of angels has affected artists throughout the exhibit.
Angels, continuing through October 12, is accompanied by an illustrated catalogue available at the front desk. For more information, visit the Carnegie website.