4 There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.
5 And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
6 And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.
7 And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.
– Genesis, 6:1-4
If Jon Read was a medieval monk, he would have been one of the freaks drawing weird stuff in the margins of illuminated bible manuscripts. You know what I’m talking about, right? The weird animal hybrids (something like the 1980s children’s cartoon The Wuzzles, what with Bumblelion and Rhinokey) and profane, perverse images like you’ll find on this page. (He claims also to be influenced by renaissance diptychs depicting Judgment Day from the Flemish school.)
Read, who goes by the stage name The Wiggins when he’s playing his brand of garage rock, has a show of new work called The Shrine to the Myth of Man at the G Gallery from September 7-29. Like Emily Link (whom I wrote about here), Read is working with mythological archetypes in a space and time that is outside and parallel to our own space and time. “In illo tempore.”
After working out his story in two dimensional paintings and computer drawings for many years, Read recently began creating tableaus of wooden cutouts. They’re still not quite what I would call 3D sculpture — more like 2.5D. There are three realms where the Bible meets science fiction meets comic books meets fantasy/mythology in Jon’s twisted imagination.
The first is quite literally derived from the Book of Genesis, in the time before Noah’s flood, where angels had sex with proto-human babes and spawned a race of giants. The angels/giants keep the women in towers and fight aliens who are also wanting to get jiggy with the “daughters of men.”
The second realm is a graveyard, a type of purgatory, where restless souls await Judgment Day. Some of them, the most impatient ones, hitch rides on weird hybrid angels for an express ride to heaven.
The third realm is post-apocalyptic, quite literally after a nuclear holocaust. In this space, Read’s protagonist a child hunting a mutant. I don’t have images of that, yet, but come out to his opening at the G Gallery on Saturday, September 7 to catch all three story lines in their full splendor. In the meantime, check out his Facebook page for more images, and I’ll leave you with a slideshow from his studio.