EXHIBITION:September: A Two-Person Exhibit
When the world feels utterly overwhelming and anxiety is abounding, we can all relate to the desire to seek out a sense of safety. For artist Drew Michael, responding to the complexities of isolation and fear in the height of a global pandemic meant manifesting a physical representation of Protection from within and bringing this sigil of safety to life through careful carving and dedicated craftsmanship. Drew was acutely aware that the peace and calm he was seeking was something he would have to create with his own hands, so he did exactly that. The hours spent working on the Protection mask would open up a space of familiar peace for Drew, one found in the calm of performing meditative hard work and prolonged focus on the process and repetitive rhythm of carving. Working on this piece allowed him to dwell within his own peace. The work grounded and balanced him, duly serving it’s intended purpose. Turning inward, he also chose to acknowledge and explore the interplay of the masculine and feminine sides of a person through the inclusion of strong masculine features balanced with a soft pink feminine lip color. The hands reaching outward from the sides of the piece appear to offer a hug or perhaps a helping hand. Drew considers the power of the hands, in that they at once can be used to harm, and simultaneously protect, nurture, and help. The open palms are welcoming, reaching out as if to say, “all are welcome, you are safe.” The materials involved also lend themselves to the notion of safety. The nails included in the piece were given to Drew in Paris, France, and had been originally part of the structure of the building he was staying in. They are likely handmade and from the 1700s, making them a key feature of that structure for many decades. The inclusion of them in the mask nods to the idea of support, or structural soundness. You may also notice that the price for this piece is set as $3333.33 and this is quite intentional. The number 333 is also referred to as the angel’s number, which signifies good luck and that you are on the right path in your life. This price has been set to further imbue the Protection mask with more spiritual elements of good luck, safety, and protection.