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Divine Grace

Museum Link:

Source Link:

Date Minted:  June 4, 2020

Artist Description: The image of the goddess. Immovable. Unbreakable. Complete. 

CohentheWriter’s Commentary:

In Divine Grace, spirituality is presented as an impossible mystery. Taking pretty overt influence from Eastern religions, Eloh’s piece is consumed in symbology that would take a dissertation to fully unravel. Eloh’s style, here and elsewhere, is akin to a power surge. Electrifying their pieces with glowing, iridescent color and packing it full of polygons, shapes, motifs, and mathematical allusions, Eloh captures totalities, or attempts to, and the result are these beautifully-colored, cosmic icons, of sorts. In Divine Grace, it’s a woman’s face that is the subject of Eloh’s sanctification. Elsewhere, the rising phoenix (or perhaps that’s a Simurgh). Alien creatures populate this oeuvre as well, and there are plentiful references to mechanical creatures, robots and cybernetics galore. The artist will go more abstract than that (and will also sometimes temper their style with more meme-like, cryptocurrency-referential artworks), and so Divine Grace represents a kind of median of Eloh’s artwork, with a subject we can recognize and empathize with, cast in a position that is instantly recognizable. The woman wearing the crown, conjuring connotations of queens and royalty. And yet, that identifiability is tempered by a cavalcade of unlike imagery. There are figures hanging on the edge of the piece, fully-crafted characters existing in their own smaller, internal worlds. There are seashells and crystals. There is an entire tiny universe of disparate objects here. I’m tempted to say that the role of the artist is to introduce these objects while our observational role is to unpack and connect them. But that doesn’t feel right either. Perhaps our role is to simply observe, and to let the connections arise later, to become exactly what this piece is: dream imagery, or the slow rolling ocean of our subconscious. 

While overwhelming because of its expansiveness, Eloh’s color palette in Divine Grace is strangely holistic. These sprawling kinds of cosmic hues —the deep purples, the shimmering blues and oranges and pinks, all of them set against the black background of outer space— differ predominantly in their specific hues, but altogether create the impression of hurtling through the galaxy. That astral quality is juxtaposed with the motifs that populate the piece. The elephant, for instance, with its long trunk curling down to the woman’s forehead. The seashells and flowers which decorate the left and right flanks of her diadem. Slightly above that spot, the orange silhouettes of five human beings in-motion have been situated atop a perfectly straight line. Even the two small figures beside the woman’s face, both seeming angelic, one glistening in orange, the other in purple, are modeled after the socially-dominant idea of angels, an intrinsically-human concept crafted in mankind’s image for centuries. There is, obviously, a less-grounded and more ineffably spiritual undertone to this piece, but for Divine Grace to be speckled all over with very recognizable and grounded, Earthly imagery is interesting. The further away you get from the woman’s face, the more abstract and, I suppose universal, these images become. Like the constellation of shapes which line the edges of the image. Like the space-dust nebulas which float in the background. And all the other small abstractions which exist there, none more notable than the glowing white light underneath the woman’s face, encircled with alchemical lines, a mandala that might be a quasar or might be the human soul. 

Eloh describes this piece as “The image of the goddess. Immovable. Unbreakable. Complete.” Complete is, for me, the most interesting of these identifiers, as it’s inherently oxymoronic. Eloh seems like a pretty spiritual cat, so I’ll focus on pretty spiritual ideas, like the concept that God —or any resultant deity, goddesses of Divine Grace included— is omnipresent, which tat makes any divinity incalculable without capturing every aspect of that multitude, an outwardly and obtusely impossible task. Except for maybe in the glowing white soul underneath the woman’s face, where one can conceivably argue that white, being the assemblage of all other colors, represents that completion. But otherwise, the details here have been cherry-picked. Why a seashell and not a Redwood? Why crystals and not sand dunes? I don’t think it’s unfair to conclude that Eloh is contradicting themselves. “Complete” is insurmountable. Every detail included is a choice to leave something else out, and there’s nothing here to suggest that —like how in the story of Moses upon Mt. Sinai, Moses, upon seeing God, sees only His back as he walks (that’s a paraphrase and an allegory of sorts)— there’s a presence in the absence of things.

The only conclusion I myself can come to is that Eloh is capturing the inherent inability of the human being to capture or conceive divinity. We are creatures of detail and identification. We name emotions. We have memories and ideas but they situate us in known places, alongside known people, engaged in known activities. While these things might inherently contain the divine essence, they are all fragmentations of that essence. As is anything attempting to capture such. And anyone attempting to do the same. We are beholden to our perspectives. As is Eloh. However, with such a glut of imagery, we become aware of our own associations to the individual aspects. Ironically, we are pulled further away from the divine by the attempts to capture it, beautiful and haunting as those attempts may be. 

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