Monday, December 20, 2010


I did an unusual series of artworks in 1987. This was at the height of my interest in occultism and esotericism. The "Book of Celestial Images" by A.C. Highfield continued to inspire art based on his esoteric visualizations. This image above is one of those visualized figures. It is an angel of the order of the "Chasmalim," associated with the sephirah of Chesed (blue, the Righteous King). The colors of the various limbs and parts of this angel-figure are rigorously specified, deriving from Westernized Kabbalah. The colors are derived from the correspondences of each Hebrew letter in the words making up the Angel-names. Each letter also makes a part of the Angel's body, and has a color, a gender, and a mood. Esotericism and its visualization systems can get quite complicated.

For instance for this figure, Highfield specifies: "Cheth (Hebrew letter): Head; Receptive, Concentrated, Feminine. Rich bright russet. Shin (Hebrew letter). Neck: Radiant, dominant. Very powerful. Masculine. Scarlet, flecked gold.(...) Yod (Hebrew letter), Legs: Delicate, yet powerful. Scintillating. Masculine. Green-grey. Mem (Hebrew letter): Feet; Receptive, stable, feminine. Deep olive green." So when I created the art for these visualizations I tried to integrate these male and female parts into the figure. The torso and head of this one is specified as feminine, so I made it a female figure. Since most angel names end in "-im," they all had green-grey legs and olive-green feet. Or perhaps ballet shoes; I envisioned these as dance costumes. This angel is said by Highfield to be cheerful and joyful, so I made it a lively, dancing figure.

This piece was made with mixed media. I sprayed a standard black background with silver paint, then cut out the figure's parts from pre-printed Color-Aid paper which had all the shades to match the specifications. I glued it together and added press-on shiny stars from a stationery-store purchase. This was not a very permanent arrangement. This piece and the others in the series probably don't exist any more. I gave them to an elderly artist friend of mine who is long gone, along with his possessions and his own artwork.

"Chasmalim" is mixed media on black illustration board, 7" x 10", January 1987.

No comments: