Art Review, Guy Allison, Why the Angel Jumps

15 May

why the angel jumps

 

This wonderful painting is so complex that it’s really hard to talk about.  We have a human figure, with wings and what looks like a string around his neck looking at the sun.  In the corner under the window is a cross.  The rest of the “room” is blocky pink on black, with some lattice in one corner and a little puzzle piece with a white water drop shape on it.

The first thing I see is a sort of Icarus tale–if we want to know why the angel jumps–he wants to reach the sun.  However while Icarus is about pride, this seems to be more about despair.  The wings of this angel are clearly tied on, and they don’t look sturdy enough to fly.  The figure is standing with a bit of a slump–this is not a prideful stance, and he has a cord around his neck.  The little cross in the corner doesn’t seem religious–it reminds me more of a graveyard marker than anything else.    Also, this man might be already hung, we don’t see his feet–you can’t be sure that he’s actually touching the ground.

And then there’s the other signs, the room full of darkness and the window full of light, the lattice almost acting like the world is blocked out, stuck out of reach–the reason this angel might have jumped was over a sense of isolation and trappedness (his space certainly seems like a dark labyrinth.)  I like how his shadow seems to pass beyond the realms of this painting, like it’s trying to reach out into the world you and I are standing in.

The design of this image is top notch–it looks cut out of paper, but sends the perfect image of emptiness and unbalance.  Also mourning, like this painting might have been made in memory of somebody–it certainly is quite sad, and beautiful all at once.

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