Monday, June 6, 2011

Splendors of Faith/Scars of Conquest In Oaktown

Visited the Oakland Museum for their exhibit-

Splendors of Faith/Scars of Conquest

Arts of the Missions of Northern New Spain,1600-1821

This exhibition had a great span of religious art and iconography, focusing on the scars and casualties of religious zeal. The wars between the Protestants and Catholics and the martyrdom of the devout. Lots of creepy yet breathtaking imagery here; bloody and scary yet fascinating and engaging. Apparently the art traveled to only two spots here in the States and it was nice to see Oakland get a shot at such a fabulous exhibit. I have always loved mission artistry and this show didn't let me down. The Catholic church has produced and influenced many masterpieces, many hidden away in little churches on frescos. Even though I am not religious- the Gothic dark moodiness, the serene emotional expression, the ornate decor of altars and sacred spaces - have always intrigued and haunted me, in a good way. And if you are fond of skull and skeleton art, you can't beat the depictions of "Hell" in religious art.  Included in the exhibit were altar pieces, sculptures, frescos and paintings - a somber, ethereal and beautiful exhibition. The show has now ended, my apologies for not getting to this post sooner - it would have been nice to inspire some extra visitors to the museum. At the very least - here is a virtual look/see for you to visit.

Also on display was a companion exhibit titled -

Contemporary Coda

This exhibit caused a bit of an uproar, (small-minded uproar) mostly centered on one piece by Alma Lopez, which Eclectix posted about here. Her piece was one of the best in this small show but Manuel Ocampo's Diptych blew me away. I have always loved his paintings and it was great to see these up close and personal. Do a Google image search on Manuel, it is well worth it... (couldn't find a website for him). Here is a link for a film about the artist.

Un-Bound and Upcycled, The Painted Books of Mike Stilkey

Eclectix first saw Mike’s work in person at the Art For The New World show in Bristol, UK. It was this huge work that greeted you as you came thru the door (above). A wonderful mound of books stacked on edge and painted with the image of a young gothic bride and groom couple. Just loved it! His characters have a nice old world feel, harking back to the Victorian-Edward Gorey-Poe eras, yet modern with a human sensitivity and compassion. Stacked into sculptures they re-imagine a bookcase full of possibilities.

This was originally posted on the Eclectix homepage, May 2011, in the Paper & Arts exhibit and issue.