Michael Eli and Savanna Snow, A Golden Dawn

Michael Eli and Savanna Snow are having their first show (in a long time…a group/solo show: they painted most of the displayed paintings together) at The Oakbook Gallery, called Art at the Oakbook, in Jack London Square, this month. It opens tomorrow, March 19th. Friday. 7 to 11. Please come support this show. The scope of the exhibit is breathtaking. The work is eternal, stylish and sob-inducingly beautiful.

I had a sneak peek in the gallery yesterday as they were hanging the work and took some pictures of what I saw. please click on each image to enlarge. I could not capture the extent of the show so I focused on details. I imagine that there are about 100 paintings throughout the two rooms of the gallery. I asked them a few questions about their show (called A GOLDEN DAWN) and they took the time to respond thoughtfully. The interview is posted below.

a black and white portrait of the artists Michael Eli and Savanna Snow in their installed threshold at the Oakbook. Their show opens this Friday.

Obi: What is the relationship between magic and art? Is there one? What is the Golden Dawn?

Savanna: One might say that they are one in the same.. a call and a manifest answer. To quote
Hermes Trismegistus “As above, so below.” For myself both magic & art is a system mastered through precise practice to achieve levels of understanding through learning.
In many of my pieces I seek to explore the “within” utilizing a system of geometry , I want to be freed from the tradition of representational art. How does one express what we “ see “ without the external? Geometry underlies all . This concept of a framework beneath was put forth by the Greeks as a “ Golden Mean “ it is incontestable. For me A Golden Dawn is the beginning of a New Romantic art movement a marriage of Geometry, Magical Order & past Utopian movements of late 19th century California.

Michael: I don’t believe in magic. The Golden Dawn to me represents the power of positive thinking , the subjects and topics contained within the work is my portrail of this . I wanted to create beauty that speaks of the Romantic ideals of centuries past.

Obi: Describe the big threshold in the gallery, what is the symbology there?

Savanna: The threshold is the entrance to what I deem “ The Lodge “ made from reclaimed wood it is a portal between space & thought.

The Lodge is marked on the top with the numbers 0=0 which is the level of neophyte or in laymans terms a beginner. Flanking the entrance are my interpretation of the twin pillars of Solomon , Joachim and Boaz. These pillars represent of strength & beauty respectively. The old level that sits between them was given to us by a master craftsman & friend of ours: Steve Akana. I chose to place the level on the lodge to speak of the balance required of the pillars.As one passes through this threshold they encounter a room containing the historic , mythological and mathematical concepts shown in our paintings. Much of the inspiration for the show we have tried to place in this room as well, books, objects & parts of our studio. A gold curtain in the corner leads to a locked door with the level 10=1 ipsissimus or master of masters. We invite the participant to pass through the lodge and leave as magus 9=2 having reflected on our works.

Obi: Where does your imagery/inspiration come from? It seems very alchemical or metaphorical, almost anachronistic. How do you choose your images?

Michael: This show is collaboration but we have a dissonance of inspiration IE : representative imagery versus savanna’s often-geometric pattern. For this show, However, we concur on the specificity of : the era, past utopias put forth by the naturalists & romantic artists and the classical philosophy that we reference. The 19th. Century was a period of Romantic idealism and California was born. Our generation is left to contend with they true legacy of the Gold system and all the shortsightedness of the industrial revolution. We have the opportunity right the wrongs of our forefathers. We have accounted for our mistakes and it is enlightened that we move into the future. We are obliged to pick up the gauntlet and trudge into the future with our eyes and our minds wide open. I see a Golden dawn.

The subjects represented in the portraits are those who saw the affectations of the Industrial age and railed against it, but like Pan were ultimately defeated. These people rejected materialism and some embraced spiritualism. Naturalism and spiritualism have just as much if not more to do with development of California as do Oil & Gold. When Oil & Gold fail us the spirit of naturalism will protect us all. We embrace the future and encourage all whom enter to see the beauty in all things.

Savanna: I don’t choose my images , they choose me. For this show I was inspired most often by the materials and the places that gave us them. Wood from the sea coming full circle utilizing metal and the fire of my imagination. There is definitely an obvious anachronism due to our
speaking of the late 19th century within the context of the present day.

to link to more of Savanna’s images and for details about the show:

  1. Great article. Sorry I'm not going to make the opening.

  2. Thank You again for the thoughtful questions & sharing our Guinness(s)

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  • Moises Aragon

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