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Artist Captures Angels in New Thomas More Exhibit

Anthony Becker walked into the Eva G. Farris Gallery at Thomas More College, studied the intimacy of the empty space and his mind’s eye saw angels.
 
His installation The Burning Ones, continuing through Feb. 5, says Becker, “refers to celestial beings called seraphim. Literally ‘to burn’." 
 
Described in Isaiah 6:2-3, they have six wings and fly around the throne of God chanting ‘Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.’ Their ceaseless praise is meant to ‘kindle’ within us a deep love for God. 
 
At Thomas More, six large, buckram wing forms hover in the gallery space and projections of eyes cover the wings, walls, and floor of the space.
 
Becker says his intention is “to capture the essence of one of these beings.”
 
“Every age re-invents itself,” Becker observes. “Originally their images were intended for contemplation. Now seraphim have been filtered through the Me Generation and the cult of personality. I Googled it (there are more than 7 million results) and a lot of crazy things come up.”
 
Angels as religious and cultural symbols have interested Becker for a long time. So have birds and he agrees that the idea of “flight and wings” attracts him. 
 
He’s made large nests, flocking bird installations, and ruined angels. Becker has exhibited throughout the country, and locally at the Carnegie Visual and Performing Arts Center, Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, The Weston Art Gallery, and The Dayton Art Institute.
 
For his angels in flight, Becker usually employs large, translucent veils of paper (bought at home improvement stores) to make his art take flight. With The Burning Ones he uses buckram for the first time. It’s the material that create scrims for stage productions; he’s excited by its cloudy transparency and the way It can be creased and folded into shapes that hold their form, “a vital quality when working on a large scale.”
 
The new material, Becker says, has inspired him “to re-look at birds and flocking. I’m looking at starlings, the way they mass and shift and change in flight.”
 
He wants The Burning Ones to give gallery visitors “a feeling of familiarity” – even if that’s impossible to define. 
 
“When I do a show, I investigate every source, and it’s in the context. Even if it’s not visible in the work, it informs the work.” That’s what he hopes viewers connect with. Hopefully the show will evoke many responses and no one answer. “ 
 
Becker will be part of a group show at Northern Kentucky University opening in February, Faces of Art: Artist Self-Portraitscurated by Fran Watson from Feb. 12 - March 6. 
 
The Burning Ones, through Feb. 5, Eva G. Farris Gallery, TMC Library,  Thomas More College, 333 Thomas More Parkway, Crestview Hills. 8 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday and 2-4 p.m. Sunday. 859-344-3300.
 
Written by Jackie Demaline, RCN Arts