featured gallery for June 2006

Magick Eyes

This little gallery of magic eyes and magic for the eyes is made of seven masks, two vessels, and a variety of sigils. The men and women whose hands created these fetishes may have been ill, even visually impaired, but their works delight in the restorative power of imagination: that is, the sights they perceive through magic eyes.

Stephen Varble's performance still (Untitled, 1972) shows a bearded man peering behind three-eyed spectacles with peacock feathers for lenses. Derek Jackson sees an Afro-headed sprite in a redwood tree stump (From The Faeries, 2002). These images depict the process of imagination, of seeing everything.

Eyes consist of liquid and the most delicate tissue, yet they seem made of gems or flames. Gods and monsters of all kinds are known to have glowing eyes. Some of them have eyes that shoot lasers. Tim Jocelyn's Fish w/ Beaming Eyes is a cut paper totem. Mark Carter's painting of the priestess Marie Laveau and Michael P. Moore's computer-manipulated image Absolute Voodoo attest to the peering power of the shamanic healer.

Charms and curses alike invoke ever-watching eyes: Karl Michalak's Mask 3 is a Nazar Bonjuk (a Turkish bead of blue and white glass to ward off the evil eye). Clifford Smith's Insight is a mandala made of colored eggshells. Perhaps it should be hung in a doorway, an unblinking talisman keeping vigil against the intruding voyeur of bad luck. Amos Beaida's self-portrait places the subject at the center of an eye-shaped amulet. Fran Lewis' Isis Rising seems a personal hieroglyph, a protective power sign flying through the astral plane.

Can you count all the eyes in the dream seascapes by Joe Monroe (Grand Ceremony, 1991), Jolanta Rakowska (The Place to Be, 2002), and Jorge Luis Moncayo (Mermaid, Under the Sea #2, 2003). Whether one-eyed Cyclops or Argus, the 100-eyed giant, any more or less than a pair of eyes is spectacular, as, lest we forget, these crystal ball twins are windows to the soul and the eye in the sky looks down upon mere mortals, just as the third eye, or Ajna, is found in the seventh chakra, floating in a white-indigo space above our heads. The subject of Bern Boyle's photo (Portrait of Michael Wilson, 1988) glowers beneath a tattoo eye on his forehead. Roy Secord's SoulCatcher and Hal Scheppner's lamé and fake jewel All That Glitters transfix the gaze, bringing the mind closer to a meditative state of transcendence, tricking the eye into fascination.