"Heathen Art" — Group
Last Thursday, August 25, 2005
6 pm til 10 pm
Tuesday, September 29, 2005
Heathen Art - A Reluctant Manifesto
I chose 'reluctant' because this
exhibit is not a presentation of a movement or new
ism or genre, nor are these notes meant to be a 'program'
for their work. The common denominator of the artists
represented here is that most of them are spiritually
aligned with what can be called the heathen path, which
was bound to manifest in their work.
Thus, the choice behind the exhibition title is simple: this collection
of artists has decided, in art as in life, to turn away from the dominant
monotheisms of our day and to reconsider the worth of the old religions
and folkways of Europe. This means discovering societal forms that knew
no separation between the religious and secular, where, at the highest
level, spirit and action were one. These societies were also characterised
by a religious variety that is unknown today, manifesting in local cults
and variances. Yet at the center of these cultures lies the same cyclical
view of the world in which the tides of the seasons are celebrated in
festival, and in which, at the end of an age, a new world will inevitably
arise from the old.
Just as there was no separation between art and life, there was not yet
a distinction between fine art and crafts - all creative activity was
an expression of the skill and soul of the creator. Ornamentation and
iconography was filled with symbolic significance. And much of the artistic
practice was specifically informed by religious and/or magical concerns.
These same motivations are obviously embraced by at least some of the
artists in this exhibit.
This preoccupation with pre-Christian motifs and art has its precedents.
Artists as far back as the Classicists and certainly the Romantics found
inspiration in newly rediscovered texts such as the Eddas and the Nibelungenlied.
In the second half of the 19th century, National Romantic movements swept
most of Europe, and inspired a new examination of native myths and the
value of folk art. This paved the way for Art Noveau's adaptation of
ancient ornament, and the Symbolist penchant for the bizarre and mystical
led to some of the most memorable images of gods and goddesses, myths
and fairy tales.
Just as the best Symbolist and Surrealist artists, the 'new heathen'
artists champion content and intent rather than style and mannerism.
To them, the past is a guide that animates the present and each work
completes a cycle of learning and discovery. This includes a healthy
respect for traditional skill and craftsmanship.
Henry Corbin, in his work Recovering a Visionary Geography, wrote "that
we must abandon homogeneous chronological time in order to enter that
qualitative time which is the history of the soul." In my mind,
this is precisely the state that would be most condusive to tapping into
the works presented here.
VISIT HEX MAGAZINE
JASON HOVATTER CRABAN
ROBERTO A. JARAS L.
ROBERT N. TAYLOR
MADELINE VON FOERSTER
WHITE HART FORGE
Robert Kenneth BeauSoleil, AKA Bobby BeauSoleil, was born on November
6, 1947, in the California beach town of Santa Barbara. From
an early age he couldnt wait to be old enough to get out
on his own. Shunning the surfer scene of his hometown peers,
he turned his attention to hot rods and electric guitars. These
interests eventually took him to the strip in Hollywood,
California, where in 1964, at the age of 16, he became a colorful
and familiar feature of the emerging youth subculture. Plying
his developing talents as a guitarist through several garage
band experiments, BeauSoleil landed a position as second guitar
in Arthur Lees new band, The Grass Roots a band
that a short time later would become widely known as Love.
Just prior to his eighteenth birthday, BeauSoleil joined the artist
community in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco. Shortly
thereafter, he formed a band of his own an instrumental
ensemble called The Orkustra notable for its unprecedented
blend of psychedelic rock, classical, jazz and middle eastern music
He was discovered by underground filmmaker, Kenneth Anger, while
performing with his band at the opening of a particularly bacchanalian
counter-culture festival called The Invisible Circus. Anger, taken
by BeauSoleils striking looks and uninhibited stage performance,
asked the young musician if he would be willing to star in his
current project, an epic underground film with the foreboding title
of Lucifer Rising. BeauSoleil agreed, on the condition that he
would compose the score and record the soundtrack for the film
with his band. A bargain was struck. To perform the soundtrack,
BeauSoleil formed a new band he called The Magick Powerhouse of
OZ, an eclectic ensemble that combined experimental free jazz with
bluesy rock and amplifier feedback.
For the bands first performance, Anger and BeauSoleil joined
forces to put on an event at the Straight Theater called, by Anger,
The Equinox of the Gods. When the event (while memorable to the
audience) did not go as planned, Anger and BeauSoleil each blamed
the other for what had gone awry. The collaboration could not be
reconciled, and the two parted company with harsh feelings.
A couple of months later he was called upon to play supporting
guitar for singer-songwriter Charles Manson, and thereafter joined
Dennis Wilson (Beach Boys) and others in efforts to help Manson
record an album of his songs. He began to associate more with outlaw
motorcycle clubs, whom he romanticized, and others, like Manson,
who lived on the outskirts of what was considered normal, acceptable
society. BeauSoleil began to adopt some values that led him astray
into criminal activities. During the commission of an absurdly
misconceived drugs transaction, things went terribly wrong, and
BeauSoleil killed a man. He was arrested soon afterward, tried
in a Los Angeles County courtroom, and sent to prison with a life
sentence for one count of murder in the first degree. Ever since,
his former association with the since notorious Charles Manson,
he remains in prison more than 35 years later.
In 1976, while at the state prison in Tracy, California, BeauSoleil
resumed his earlier collaboration with Kenneth Anger, nearly ten
years after their parting of ways in San Francisco. The filmmaker
had shot new film for his Lucifer Rising project. BeauSoleil believed
that the soundtrack was still his to do; Anger agreed. With permission
from prison authorities, BeauSoleil formed a band of musically
inclined prison inmates and called it The Freedom Orchestra, assembled
a make-shift recording studio, and in 1979 he finally completed
his soundtrack for the now legendary film. Lucifer Rising,
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, is now available worldwide
in a double CD Deluxe Edition from Arcanum Entertainment. Over
the subsequent 8 years he composed and recorded, as a solo performer,
a total of about 3 hours of new music, then turned his focus to
producing a series of drawings and paintings as a visual counterpoint.
The most stylistically representative of these recording have been
compiled for a new double CD entitled Dreamways of the Mystic,
and were released on the Arcanum Entertainment label in early 2005. "The
Dreamer" is a work from this series while "The Green
Man" is a new work.
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Dennis Dread was born
at home in 1972 in New York's lore-rich
Hudson River Valley, near Sing Sing Prison
and Sleepy Hollow. Following a childhood
of monster movies and home-made comic books,
at the age of 18 he began silkscreen printing
for the infamous underground t-shirt company
Mutilation Graphics while studying literature
and comparative mythology at the State
University of New York at Purchase.
Dennis Dread's visceral and obsessively detailed ballpoint pen
drawings have appeared on numerous national and international hardcore
and metal records, including work for such extreme-noise luminaries
as Autopsy, Abscess, Phobia, Engorged, Abigail, and Machetazo.
His contributions to the Heathen Art exhibit, symbolist portraits
of Freyja and Odin, are completely hand drawn with black Bic pen
and framed with primary acrylic. Dennis credits a very early discovery
of d'Aulaire's Norse Gods & Giants at a public library as his
first introduction to the Nordic pantheon and path. Dennis also
edits and self-publishes the long
running underground art magazine Destroying Angels. His writing
has recently been published in Runa, an Asatru journal published
in England by Ian Read.
When he is not sitting at a drawing table in a dark basement, Dennis
can be found assisting homeless youth on the streets of Portland,
Oregon where he fulfills an oath sworn nearly 15 years ago and
earns his professional title as a street outreach worker.
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I started drawing when I was three years old.
It just felt natural to want to capture what I was perceiving and
try to hold it in place on paper, in dirt, on cloth, or on a wall.
I didn't realize at the time that I was continuing a tradition
of thousands of generations of my ancestors. I think that through
the process of eye to mind to hand to pencil to paper to eye I
am in essence trying to get a grip on the crazy flux of earthly
existence. Trying to interpret, and understand, and then influence
the flow of life. And my reasons haven't changed since I was three I
just have more words now.
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JASON HOVATTER CRABAN
Who am I? Do the things I make define who I am? I am a young shoemaker,
a father, and husband. I love to make and share good food and
drink with good friends. I am fascinated with the way folks have
been living and doing what they do for thousands of years. I
believe the things I create help me to understand what it is
to be human.
Laughing Crowe Leatherworks
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Juleigh Howard-Hobson is an award winning writer
whose art pieces have exhibited at the American River Arts Festival
(US), the Newlands Festival (Australia), as well as at select galleries
and cafes throughout Northern California. Born in England she has
lived in Australia and the US. This is her first Portland showing.
She is an associate of the Rune Gild of North America.
Dave Hobson has been working in metal, from custom automotive bodywork
to traditional smith arts and sculpture, for over a decade. His
work has been shown, driven, or used throughout Northern California.
This is his first piece in collaboration with his wife.
This piece was inspired by a comment of Nigel Pennick's on looking
for the futhark in tree branches. The runetwigs in this piece
took two years to assemble. The first found was Ansuz. The last,
Mannaz. From Odin to the Self: fitting opening and closing for
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ROBERTO A. JARAS L.
Roberto A. Jaras L. was born in March 1973.
Even though his academic education was more oriented towards music
as a professional guitarist, his strong inclination toward the
more oneiric and spiritual aspects of existence rapidly made him
absorb like a sponge all things related to the Arts. This finally
made him dedicate his life almost entirely to every art form he
could get his hands on, not only making and producing music, but
also writing and translating literature, as well as painting, carving,
sculpting, and so on.
While traveling various artistic roads, a decisive turning point
came when he realised the true implications of his particular heritage:
being both the descendent of different European immigrants (Spaniards,
Germans, Scots, Italians...), and a son of the worlds southernmost
lands, Chile. Thus, he dives into and nurtures himself in the tradition
of the Old Continent, and in the energy, magic and youth of the
The Arte Celta project in particular was born of the his urgent
need to unite both of these currents into one unique river of tangible
artistic manifestation; one original creation evidently rooted
in the European tradition, but mainly fueled by the renewed solutions
and forms of the young South American spirit. This way, the cultural
heritage of the West, old and tired, reconstructs its blood and
shape in the new magical land, our Southern regions, rising like
the Phoenix to preserve and continue that which, in the artist's
humble view, is the best mirror of our Soul: Art.
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Michael Moynihan was born in 1969 in New England.
He has lived on both coasts and in between, as well as in Belgium.
Since the early 1980s he has been a musician, artist, author, editor,
and provocateur. Together with his wife Annabel Lee he runs the
Dominion Press imprint, and he is a co-editor of the journals TYR
(Atlanta, Georgia) and Rûna (London, UK).
"My ongoing series of circular hex paintings was begun a few years ago,
as a result of a longstanding interest in Germanic folk art and magical symbolism.
The designs are based on traditional patterns, but also bring in other related
(Indo-) European motifs. The paintings are not intended merely as aesthetic works
-- just as importantly, they have practical use. Typically this is of a protective
nature, and they are often meant to hang on the outside of a house or barn building,
above doors, and so on. The synergy created by their form and function reaches
its fullest effect when they are displayed in such a context."
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Since his earliest childhood, the memories of his legendary hometown
Merseburg in Saxony-Anhalt have left a permanent impression,
enriching and imprinting his soul for the rest of his life. The
towers of the castle bathed in moonlight, the imposing facade
of the cathedral, the ivy-covered battlements of the castle on
the banks of the Saale river: it was a veritable wonderland.
Forgotten treasure must be hidden there!
Only later, long after the discoveries of childhood, did it become
apparent that "real treasures" are to be found there:
the "Merseburg Charms," the architecture that has evolved
through the ages, and a history that is fundamental to Central
Europe. But inspite of his present capacity for intellectual reflection,
the rule also applies in this case: In the end, the artist remains
a child, outside of any norms and free as a bird! Legend, mythos
and magic are the three foundations of his sovereign worldview,
that cannot, should not, and may not submit to any fashions or
ideological tendencies. He follows an inner voice rather than a
career path, is rooted in the past rather than the present, and
is more indebted to the Classical world than Modernity. The cultivation
of a multifaceted creativity and the permanent quest for perfection
are the only constants in his creative life.
And so it is no surprise that has not only striven for artistic
self-realisation as a musician and poet, but also as a painter,
photographer, actor, and organiser.
Uwe Nolte's main musical endeavors have been Rückgrat, Scardanelli,
Orplid, Sonnentau, and most recently Barditus. His symbolist photographs
have graced the covers of the last three projects. The two signed
prints included in this exhibit are from the cycle "Kreis
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Born on St. Patrick's
day, March 17th, 1970. Spent youth watching
monster movies, reading and daydreaming.
Studied Poetry, Philosophy, and Religion
(not necessarily in that order) at the
University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. Currently
spending time with his family.
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ROBERT N. TAYLOR
R. N. Taylor was a seminal figure in the early
emergence of the Pan Pagan movement in the U.S. as well as one
of the three founders of the spiritual path of Asatru in North
America. Taylor is probably best known in his role in the musical
duo Changes. He is also a poet, lyricist and graphic and fine artist.
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Born in Chicago and raised in northern Illinois
between the mid and latter part of the twentieth century, his youth
was spent in small idyllic little community which had not yet begun
to blossom, and while enjoying the natural surroundings of his
environment he became a sensitive yet naive young man.
His first awareness of any actual artistic talent emerged later
when, during his college tenure in Chicago, he and his cousin (and
lifelong friend), Robert (R. N.) Taylor, began creating art posters
with the primary intent of distribution, allowing their art to
reach more people, but also as a small commercial venture. Until
this time, Nicholas had no idea that he had a knack for proper
spacing and justification of letters and other calligraphic talents.
It was about two years later that this same duo would also discover
their ability for song writing.
Even though Robert had written poetry for most of his life and
Nicholas had written dozens of tunes, it was not until
1970 that they merged these talents to become a song writing team
and their folk group "Changes" was born. After a few
years of performing to a small cult following, Robert and Nicholas
went their separate ways. Nicholas moved to Colorado with a "putting
bread on the table career of office machine repair (which
he does to this very day), and formed another music group,
Phase II, with his friend Mark Andrews, and he began to delve more
deeply into graphic arts which he used for the group's publicity
posters and sole recording. The artistic time being very primitive
by todays standards, he would paste-up photos and illustrations
and use his calligraphic abilities to some extent, but for small
text on posters and advertisements, he would have the laborious
task of pressing out each letter with Press-Type. What
took hours then can be achieved in minutes today using digital
means. But one learned perseverance for the goal was to get it
done no matter how much time was wasted. He also did many graphics
in pen-and-ink and scratchboard during this period of his life.
When Phase II disbanded, he and his then wife started a family
and they raised two children. Early on in this era though, he turned
his artistic direction to fine arts and illustration in both oil
and pastel. Being self-taught, he evolved through trial-and-error
in many of these artistic endeavors. With the reemergence or what
has now been termed the Third Incarnation
of CHANGES in the mid-90s, Nicholas and Robert once again
found a great avenue in which to use their art and graphic works
through album covers, liner booklets, labels and advertisements
for their musical works.
Nicholas now moved into the digital realm." In this
new period of artistic life they have the luxury of having their
artworks reproduced in color which gives their work a whole new
dimension and opens many possibilities which were formerly lacking.
His children now grown and his wife now gone away (to divorce,
not death), Nicholas has come full-circle and lives in New Mexico
in a small, idyllic and forested mountain community near Albuquerque.
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MADELINE VON FOERSTER
Madeline von Foerster received her art education at California
College of Arts and Crafts, and at Freie Kunstschule of Mannheim,
Germany. She has also studied the Misch Technique with Philip
Rubinov Jacobson. She was a prizewinner in theBrave Destiny exhibit
of Surrealist and Visionary art. Born in San Francisco, she now
resides in New York City.
Her paintings have graced the covers of several unique underground
music groups, including Unto Ashes, The Red King, Mirabilis, Blood & Time,
as well as Infernal Proteus: A Musical Herbal. She last showed
with H.R. Giger and Ernst Fuchs at a group show entitled "The
Inner Eye - Selected Works from the Society for Art of Imagination" at
the Interart Gallery in New York City.
The drawing included in this exhibit was executed in preparation
for the "Odinn Exchanging His Eye for Wisdom" painting,
which illustrates the cover of the English edition of Alain de Benoist's
On Being A Pagan, published by Ultra.
In my paintings, I attempt to unveil images of the subconscious underworld my
own and that of my culture. I utilize the methods and the styles of the past,
in order to reinterpret current topics using the iconography of history. I think
there is still gold to be mined from the meticulosity of the Old Masters, but
I would like to alloy it with the dream-delving of Surrealism and the conscience
of the Social Realists.
It is my hope that art-makers worldwide succeed in our mammoth
task that of changing the current omnicidal tide of culture before
everything worth saving on this planet has been razed, or eaten.
I believe there is still time to make a new myth. There is still
a chance for imagination to rise to power.
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Markus Wolff lived in Germany and Austria before
coming to California at the age of 14. His influences from European
culture and art, which he absorbed during his childhood, continue
to inform his creations. After completing high school, Wolff embarked
on a program of sculpture classes at Palomar College and soon specialized
in lost wax bronze casting and glass casting.
The work from this period was exhibited in San Diego in 1994 and
in San Francisco in 1995. Concurrently, Wolff was a founding member
of the group "Crash Worship" (1986), also designing many
of their posters and merchandise and supplied artwork for most
of their record and CD packages. After two European and numerous
U.S. tours, Wolff left the band in 1996 to move to Portland and
concentrate on new projects.
He initiated the moniker "Heidnischwerk (heathen works)
to denote a group of works influenced by Norse and Germanic religion
and mythology. Sculptures and drawings from this project were exhibited
in 1999 in Portland. In 1996, he designed the so-called N-Rod for
the well-known Bay Area band Neurosis which has been used extensively
by Neurosis, Tribes of Neurot and Neurot Recordings. It
is part of the logo of Neurot Recordings, was made into
large banners that have been prominently displayed at both Beyond
The Pale festivals and has been used on numerous t-shirts,
In 1999, he also sculpted a relief version of the N-Rod design
and cast an edition of 50 plaster wall plaques to be sold through
the Neurosis mailorder. His work has appeared in several pagan
and music magazines in the US and Germany. In addition to his visual
work, Wolff leads a music project called Waldteufel, best described
as an experimental archaic folk group, which has performed in Europe
and the US and has released a full length CD Heimliches Deutschland,
as well as several records.
His works, ranging in theme from the heraldic to the erotic, owe
a deep debt to European mythological imagery and iconography, while
being heavily inspired by the Symbolist movement and European Folk
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In order to augment the large conventional Delft
collection his mother assembled in the 1970s as she dragged him
through countless European forests, museums, heaths, and cultural
sites from their Suxmundham home on the English coast, Pboks taught
himself surrealist Delft ceramic arts in 1992 while undergoing
rehabilitation in the Washington State Juvenile Justice System
for alleged actions attendant to his status as the leader of a
popular, uniformed paramilitary order of skateboarding teenage
vigilantes. This large outfit constituted the regional sub-division
of an older, culturally liberal international underground skate
collective known as LEE WONG'S TENNIS CLUB, in the service of which
Pboks honed his skills as a phenomenological guerilla artist and
His return to the Delft/porcelain medium was stimulated a full
eight years later when Michael Moynihan, Annabel Lee and Markus
Wolff introduced him to lunatic godfather of Delft surrealism Charles
Krafft (a.k.a. Charliqua Shabaaz X, Pride Warden of the Beacon
Hill Gender Garden) for purposes of an intensely hilarious psychonautic
romp through the cosmos by way of Krafft's VILLA DELIRIUM portal.
Pboks immediately set to work on his successful surrealist mock-Allach
SONDERDIENST AFRIKA line, but soon abandoned the theme in favor
of mostly wood-framed, free-hand Delft agrarian scenery and Delft
renderings of traditional Scherenschnitt (scissor-cut) motifs.
These include his own Scherenschnitte (exemplified by his 'hidden-faces'
hammer and solar lions tooth designs) and those
of 90yo German Ernest Lindental (exemplified by Pboks' often nonchalantly-demanded
oak/tile botano-runic wedding boxes) with Lindentals encouragement.
Though he continues his role as simultaneous protégé and
advisor to Charles Krafft, producing both surrealist and traditionalist
ceramic pieces to express sentiments pertinent to friends and family,
Pboks concentrates his artistic efforts on a non-comic, future-primitive
synthesis of both surrealist and traditionalist imagery in his
psychedelically-vibrant runo-digital transparency-on-glass, oak-framed
diamond window-hangings. If he can do so without the ideas he sloshily
blabs to fellows at gallery openings being co-opted first, Pboks
plans to unveil the first in a line of kid-friendly occular-assault
conceptual sculptures in an objectionable steel, polymer, PTFE
and bakelite medium later this year.
All publicly claimed work is produced as Pboks (phonetically box),
the name under which he was regionally famous from 1987 as the
toe-headed, wisecracking, skateboard & slingshot, comic mascot
of the pre-Redstone, then-esoteric Tacoma/Olympia punk/skate community.
Pboks was born October 1975 to a volatile family of Dutch-German
physicists, Buddhists, and fate-decriers, colonial-English Pulitzer/National
Book Award-biographed rogue military generals and Romanian-Austrian
stock-brokers, stock-car builders and hippie in-person Richard
Nixon-snubbers. Anticipating the coming mega-depression, and reflecting
on the increasingly arbitrary basis of nationality, Pboks currently
contemplates his alignment and relies solely on his NSK diplomatic
passport and harmless countenance at border crossings.
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WHITE HART FORGE
White Hart Forge are
Dan Klug and Heidi Shewchuk, traditional
artist-blacksmiths. Our backgrounds are
varied – Dan is a trained archaeologist
and Heidi is a theatrical/cinematic welder.
We are both history geeks, with a special
fondness for the pre-christian cultures
of Europe and the British Isles. It was
an interest in ancient crafts that led
both of us to blacksmithing as an art and
way of earning our bread. Our iron work
is part of our lives, it is our trade,
our art and an expression of our love of
the Gods. Being able to work iron is also
how we connect with our Ancestors. In our
craft the tools we use have not changed
in thousands of years, the tongs and hammers
we use are exactly the same as the tools
used in the Viking era and even earlier
for that matter. This for us is thrilling,
to be able to create from the raw materials
of Nerthus (Mother Earth) in the same way
as was done of old. To know we are not
the first to start a fire from charcoal,
and listen to the bellows breath life in
the fire, to be part of a craft that changed
the way humans live forever.