Please wait

The Descent

Roland Flexner‘s adaptation of a traditional Japanese ink decorative art technique makes my head spin. Even though the image is black and white, there is just so much going on. This is the type of work that one could stare at all day and just get lost in, imagination running wild. I see flowers, eyeballs, monsters, gnarly trees, mouths, a path, hands, worms. Breasts, wings, lions, frogs, mountains. Clouds, wind, caterpillars, small intestines, large intestines, sand, rocks, mushrooms, algae, moss, mold, fungus, crevasses, chasms, veins, blood, planets, dirt, dry skin, extreme close ups of hair, birds, hydrogen gas, sea anemones, jelly fish, water falls, the intestines of aborted babies from Eraserhead, and thousands of ghosts. After staring at this for a while, I realized what it reminded me of, why it seemed so familiar, and what was missing that I couldn’t realize it earlier. This is somewhat exactly how I picture the descent into the depths of Dante’s hell. I see the suicide forest with bleeding trees, the gales and tempests of the lustful, and the various monsters that lure the sinners inside. The only things missing are Dante and Virgil; so it is almost as if this work takes place before or after they pass by. It is wonderfully sublime and its eeriness is what attracts me to it most. 

By Chanterelle

Roland Flexner, Untitled, 2008-09. Sumi ink on paper, 5 1/2 × 7 in. (14 × 17.8 cm). Collection of the artist; courtesy D’Amelio Terras Gallery, New York
Roland Flexner, Untitled, 2008-09. Sumi ink on paper, 5 1/2 × 7 in. (14 × 17.8 cm). Collection of the artist; courtesy D’Amelio Terras Gallery, New York
Roland Flexner, Untitled, 2008-09. Sumi ink on paper, 5 1/2 × 7 in. (14 × 17.8 cm). Collection of the artist; courtesy D’Amelio Terras Gallery, New York
Roland Flexner, Untitled, 2008-09. Sumi ink on paper, 5 1/2 × 7 in. (14 × 17.8 cm). Collection of the artist; courtesy D’Amelio Terras Gallery, New York
Roland Flexner, Untitled, 2008-09. Sumi ink on paper, 5 1/2 × 7 in. (14 × 17.8 cm). Collection of the artist; courtesy D’Amelio Terras Gallery, New York
Roland Flexner, Untitled, 2008-09. Sumi ink on paper, 5 1/2 × 7 in. (14 × 17.8 cm). Collection of the artist; courtesy D’Amelio Terras Gallery, New York