“Night Terror”

“Night Terror” featuring the Incubus

This powerful portrait of Flynn Cubus has been captivating visitors ever since the festive IDUMA gallery opening at the beginning of Season 5. Painted from life during a plein-air expedition to the Abyss, “Night Terror” required weeks of exacting effort to capture a single dynamic moment of ambidextrous conflagration. The title is a reference to the 1781 Fuseli “Nightmare,” though with a modernized IDU-centric focus.

In the heat of battle, the incandescent splendor of Flynn’s countenance is hard to appreciate… one is distracted by the incongruity of his ability to precisely hover despite ample girth and skeletal wings, not to mention the imminent threat of slow yet implacable fireballs. But here, like a winter’s bite, the artist’s brush has frozen an instant… directing the baleful gaze of the incubus to fix visitors with a look at once bemused and sinister. Even when the viewer finally manages to break eye contact, naked aggression flanked by flame carries stunning emotional impact.

This latest addition to the portrait gallery reveals the subtle complexity of Flynn’s persona, and is well worth a trip to the IDU Museum of Art. His astounding book, How to Fly, covers the neurobiology and anatomy of this amazing species.

Triptychs from the Portrait Gallery

A Provocative Asymmetry

In this asymmetrical triptych from the IDUniverse, the artist explores the emotional range of interactions with adversaries at once spiritual and grotesque… calmly observed by a Master of Archery who is distanced not only by graphic perspective but by his own purgatorial worldview. The unconventional image placement of this Work invites us to examine our own evolution as we meander through the afterlife, every encounter shaped by the character of the enemy as much as the circumstances of the moment — dismissively dispatching Cupids yet approaching Bosses with trepidation and planning. This disturbingly recursive photo from the IDU gallery lets us observe a player who just broke 1 million contemplating her own evolving battle strategy, gazing into a piece more suggestive than simple portraiture whilst carefully watched by a monk with arrow in hand.

Pausing in the portrait gallery

We recently spent an afternoon strolling the portrait gallery along with historical exhibits from the Before Times. I highly recommend visiting next time you’re under the Dance Floor in Paradise Lost and notice the secret doorway between the pillars. The docents are amazing, and know stories going back millennia.

“Abyss Inversion with Lava”

M. C. Escher’s 1937 work, “Abyss Inversion with Lava”

M. C. Escher’s work continues to enchant museum visitors. Gazing into its topological uncertainty, the skin crawls with the imagined sound of arrow-thwaps and snarling knights… yet the absent surfaces induce an airy passivity that is almost contemplative even as lava threatens our nether regions with tongues of fire. Escher often explored architectural themes, whether tessellating surface textures or frolicking with impossible visual and gravitational perspectives, but rarely did he partially invert the very structure and, in so doing, call into question the reality of the original scene. Scholars have speculated that this piece expresses his fascination with the Moorish architecture of fourteenth-century Alhambra… sketches of which sprawled through the notebooks of his early twenties along with fantastical images of then-inconceivable virtual reality helmets.

This is part of the In Death: Unchained literature collection by Steven K. Roberts.