Tuesday, May 05, 2020

MONSTER BRAINS - Stephen Romano curator in residence: Barry William Hale

The Devil Our Lord, 2013

Barry William Hale is a Sydney based artist whose work over the past 20 years has included painting, drawing, installation, video, sound and performance. He is considered one of the key exponents of esoteric art, specifically creating work which responds to concepts of western spirituality, philosophy and ritual.

“My work is a synthesis of Art and Magick, and the residue of my esoteric endeavors. It is essential for me to forge a magical link to the metaphysical subject matter. There is great power in the things people are afraid of. The Devil is the name some new regime gives to the God[s] of those whom they oppress. These repressed forces become the locus of forbidden power imprisoned by the walls of taboo. For me, these Crowned Anarchies become the agencies of liberation. My work is Gnostic in the sense that it gives primacy to direct experience with the divine. In the spirit of the Rebellious Promethean spark of the Luciferian fire." - Barry William Hale

Artist Barry William Hale, New York City 2017.  Photograph by Stephen Romano

Baphomet Rex Mundi, 2015

Japanese Devil Boy, 2013
Hell Attendant II, 2014

Hell Attendant I, 2014

Hell Attendant III, 2014

IO:EVOE: The Transvocatory Media of Barry William Hale, Robert Fitzgerald for ABRAXAS Journal, Fulgur"

Barry William Hale: folding darkness, intersecting shadows & opening the Book of Spirits

The intolerable formlessness must be named, a name that struggles to contain the idea of the Devil and Legion in one composite figure: At best these provide a borderline or isthmus of transformational exchange between the horde and the sorcerer. Legion 49 ,BWH, Fulgur 2009

I have spoken elsewhere of the specificities that wove themselves into the thread whose knots captured my inspiration, that lead to the production of the primary artistic series of Beelzebub and the 49 Servitor. From the cthonic pantheon of the Mexican Amerindian paper-cut tradition which was fused with Spanish Inquisitional demonology. To the Servitors of Beelzebub from the Book Abramelin and following the result of the clairvoyance of a ‘prominent’ Irish psychic, at a sitting of the Ghost Club. Which were included in Crowley’s book of homoerotic poetry ‘The Scented Garden...’ otherwise known as the ‘Bagh-i-muattar’.

Staring into the face of which another knoweth their Devil
Through the darkling speculum myriad manifestations,
terrible and strange, monsterous and fantastic,
the Devil may be known. BWH

To give some insights into my artistic practise which can be seen as a series of different ongoing magical explorations, that I continually return to time and time again. To develop through aesthetic elaboration and further magical research. Adding to an existing corpus of knowledge which continues to grow and inform itself. The Resultant artistic residue of this process is expressed through a number of creative disciplines with a variety of artistic outcomes.

Speaking specifically about the magical source of current works in question, which emerged form a magical operation to Beelzebub. Of my own method and construction based upon personal knowledge of a variety of traditions of spirit conjuration and evocatory arts with particular reference to those that have Beelzebub within there register of spirits2.

My own magical operation endured for the span of eleven months, and was in conjunction with the writing and completion of LEGION 493. By which time the devils where bound and an irrevocable link with that mighty Devil forged. The very process of the Art Magical serves as a veritable Liber Spirituum which captures the spirits and binds their essence within the body of the work which is its pages. For the devils live in the residue of the entire magical artistic process. Therefore we are to conceptualize the entire body of work as a magical talisman dedicated to Beelzebub and Legion.

Once the magical link has been forged, and the Devil and Legion bound to the Book of Spirits sealed within the pages. The essential requirements of the magical operation -like those found within the old grimoires- are dispensed with.

It is not my purpose to expound the revelations and the full extent of the knowledge and experiences had during the course of the magical working with Beelzebub. That Mighty Devil without Solomon’s Temple would not have been built, who was at the side of Jesus as he was upon the Cross. Beelzebub is both the mortar of God’s Temple and its corrosion, eternally in flux and transition as an essential embodiment of the forces of Chaos and multiplicity. .

Drawing from this rich source, artist-practitioner Barry William Hale has produced a series of eleven symbolic images based upon an alternative form – a sigillic wheel – once described by Crowley himself. Around this wheel are interlocked figures that ‘symbolise the ordeal of the Adept, upon the soul’s journey.’ As author Robert Fitzgerald cites in his introduction to the work;

“The eleven compositions of CODEX 231 center around twin wheels that house the branches of two trees – the Domes and Prisons of LIBER CCXXXI and their respective sigils. The interlocked figures comprise a chimeric embodiment of these trees, and fulfill the literal ordalium of the Sorcerer, Mystic, Adept and Magician as they struggle with the demons and angels within both Tree and Self. These entities are thus portrayed in Hale’s CODEX 231 are united, both in nature and composition, and held together by each other’s feet and hands, yet ultimately by the Wheels themselves. This unity represents primordial Opposition and Integration, Control and Constraint, of the forces within both the living Adepti and their symbolic representations.”

cd cover art for the Noko231 twin disk sound work 7x3=21sq
H&H 231 #3, 2000-2001

H&H 231 #8 upright, 2000-2001
H&H 231 #8 averse, 2000-2001

H&H 231 #5
BABALON 156 + 4 Princes 2018

Karkinoi Color Kodex 231

about Stephen Romano

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