Angels & Demons: Blessed or Possessed?

Angels & Demons: Blessed or Possessed?, is the latest exhibit to be presented by the A Shenere Velt Gallery at The Workmen’s Circle in West Los Angeles. The gallery’s press release for the show runs as follows:

Demonizing our enemies and deifying our ideals stretches back long before contemporary religions. The polarization of discourse into ultimate good and ultimate evil is found in every place, in every time. George W. Bush! Gay marriage! Hugo Chávez! Hitler! Stalin! Communism! Islamofascism! Salvation! Damnation!

How does today’s culture understand the interplay of Angels and Demons? How do we know we’re possessed? How do we exorcise our dybbuks? Is one person’s angel another one’s demon? Can art break down the barriers between heaven and hell? Our juried exhibition offers an opportunity for today’s artists to grapple with these thorny challenges.

Oil painting by Mark Vallen

[ Inshallah/God Willing - Mark Vallen. Oil on masonite. 2007. On view at Angels & Demons. ]


Andrew Gardner’s “Untitled” “depicts the hypocrisy of some world leaders: George W. Bush, Osama bin Laden, and Bush’s televangelist agents, including Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, and Ted Haggard. None of them are what they propose to be. All of them proclaim divine guidance to justify actions that benefit only themselves and their allies…. The general tendency everywhere…seems to be that of labeling others as ‘demons’ and blaming them for everything instead of taking responsibility for exorcising our own. Bin Laden’s followers are just as convinced that he’s an angel as we are that he is a demon.”

Timothy Cunningham says, “Dichotomies of good and evil permeate my work. I have found that nearly all of my work has a horizon line that is proportional to my own heaven and hell. The concept of fate has always been the binding thread of my art. Free will or a predestined path? The consequences of our choices and the variables we cannot control have always pushed religious imagery into my pieces. My work has been described as dark by some. It is a description that I have never liked. My palate, maybe, but not the concepts. I have always tried to employ humor, tongue in cheek, and hope in my work.”

Angels & Demons features works by artists from all over the country: Paul Adams, David Avery, Catherine Bennaton, Naomi Bossom, Timothy Cunningham, Dela Erickson, Andrew Gardner, Douglas Golightly, Cynthia Clarke Jones, Leonard Leibowitz, Rania Matar, Shelly Murney, Pieter Myers, Joanne Beaule Ruggles, Brandon Sanderson, Darlene Schaper, Ilya Schar, Eliza Schmid, Burton Severy, Kevin Spykerman, Frederic Stein, Mark Vallen, Larry Van Deusen, Christopher Weeks, and Efram Wolff. The three jurors for Angels & Demons were Carol Wells, Mark Vallen, and Francisco Letelier, whom we thank very sincerely for their time and good judgment.

The exhibition opened Nov. 18, and runs until January 4, 2008. The Workmen’s Circle is located at, 1525 S. Robertson Blvd., Los Angeles 90035. Regular Gallery hours are Monday–Thursday, 10-5, and Friday, 10-3. Group tours may be scheduled by appointment. For further information please call 310.552.2007.

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