After celebrated Brit sculptor Andrew Gormley completed his Angel of the North he was inundated with questions about his creative process? His memorable take on this: “People are always asking, why an angel? The only response I can give is that no-one has ever seen one and we need to keep imagining them.” Well imagine this. Another contemporary visual representation assembled from found objects, mirrors, marble, metal and with stain glass wings. The ‘found item’ origin of its parts swallowed up by the grace and magnitude of the final form and the symbolic power of its message. Pregnant with news of a more hopeful future for mankind. Literally. This then is the Angel Reborn by sculptor and painter Stanislav Geissler and standing out as the only sculptural piece at the Espacio Gallery’s Urban Angles Group exhibition.
Born in the Czech Republic in 1977 his distinctive stain glass sculptures have emerged from years of perfecting a style that reflects his own philosophies. Admitting a desire to see greater connection between man and earth he meditates on a future where this is one day possible. Although refreshingly experimental his sculptures adhere to traditional stain glass methods whereby the glass is leaded together and fixed using lead-free solder. The vibrant colour in the angels wings give it the feel of a gigantic, ceramic butterfly. You sense the peacock-like power but with a calming humility overriding all else. Yes, power rather than the pride you immediately associate with that showy bird. It’s the ‘message’ that’s lofted high on the pedestal not the messenger.
Kneeling yet primed and alert this non-threatening stance is actually accentuated by the equivocal symmetry of its spiritual energy. The connection with Christian art can similarly be found in iconic Byzantine works alive with orphanim and cherubim figures daubed in to light up darkness and as augurs of the unseen and almighty. 12th Century mosaics of Archangel Michael and Gabriel carry similar symbolic power in those wings but notably reflect the philosophies and even military garb of the day. Angels in armour? Angel Reborn perhaps addresses that with a new horizon drawn from the dreams and hopes of its creator. Ostensibly, a fragile messenger representing a world in which military might is not the be-all but probably the end-all.
Urban Angles runs at Espacio Gallery until Aug 14.