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Jonathan Guthmann at Backwoods Gallery: Apocalypse

  • Backwoods gallery, Melbourne
  • Backwoods gallery, Melbourne
August 7, 2015
Web journalist, coffee junkie and art fanatic. Cares about the environment, writes for Widewalls. Alias of Milica Jovic

Apocalypse, the last book of the Bible whose obscure and extravagant imagery has led to a wide variety of interpretations  has inspired Jonathan Guthmann to produce a series of work that will be on display at Backwoods gallery in Melbourne. Apocalypse exhibition will consist of series of works that portrays the visions from the last chapter of the New Testament also known as Revelation. These visions were delivered to imprisoned apostle John and represent some of the most powerful, lucid and substantial images in our collective cultural heritage. Jonathan Guthmann gives his own modern twist to the story in a compositionally  complex series of prints.

Backwoods gallery, Melbourne
A Sketch by Jonathan Guthmann

Modern Interpretation of the Bible by Jonathan Guthmann

In addition to being an artist, Jonathan Guthmann is also a student of the critical study of religion and now works on a thesis that evaluates cultural background of the Bible. In his latest work the artist powerfully depicts the ongoing quest for the meaning of life that’s hidden in the core of the stories abouth mythological phenomena. The Bible, as do religion itself tries to give answers to the existential questions such as the question of moral, life after death and human purpose in the Universe. Although questions that the Bible refers to will always remain relevant, many find that the conventional religion is two archaic and detached from the reality. That’s why Jonathan Guthmann gives the Bible a modern twist. The artist known for his infamous drawings of penises portrayed on top of newspaper pages, in his new body of work hasn’t completely given up from his main motif. In fact, Jonathan Guthmann’s Apocalipse is loaded with erect phalluses. Their presence is sometimes incidental while other times they represent instruments of wrath or visible manifestation of God. By representing the male genitals in a religion-inspired work the artist hasn’t intended to make fun of the Bible but rather to give a modern interpretation to the text.

Backwoods gallery, Melbourne
Left : Jonathan Guthmann – The Winged Creature Like an Ox / Right : Jonathan Guthmann – The Slaughtered Lamb (Revelation 5)

Religious Symbols in Apocalypse Exhibition

The topic of Apocalypse exhibition seems to have determined a technique of the created artworks. Jonathan Guthmann uses etching, a time-consuming technique dating back to the renaissance. Etching turns sheets of metal into templates for making prints. Numerous instruments and chemicals are used in the process of embeding previously drawn sketches into the metal sheets. Once they are finished, ink is applied and prints are created by running the sheets through a large intaglio press. Apocalypse artworks are created in black and white and in great detail giving the visitors an opportunity to explore the mythological beings  and religious symbols from the book of the Revelation.

Backwoods gallery, Melbourne
Left : Jonathan Guthmann – Sea Giving Up Dead / Right : Apocalypse Exhibition Flyer

Apocalypse at Backwoods gallery

Apocalypse exhibition will open on August 14th, 2015 at Backwoods gallery in Melbourne. Apocalypse-inspired drawings are created during a two year period and portray some of the most magnificent, powerful and often disturbing images of human literary heritage. By portraying the visions from the Bible the artist breathes new life to the ancient stories and brings the brilliance and the madness to the space of the gallery. The artist wants for the Backwoods gallery visitors to explore the existential issues dealt with by the Bible but also to explore the religious symbols meticulously depicted in his works. Jonathan Gudmann’s exploration of the idea of Apocalypse will be on display till August 23rd, 2015 at Backwoods gallery in Melbourne.

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Featured images : A Sketch by Jonathan Guthmann Images courtesy of Backwoods gallery