History of the Future by Nathan Abels embeds contemporary technologies and icons into scenes from a perspective of faith, ritual and religion.
Nathan Abels has keen interest in the narratives of ancient cultures, regularly visiting abandoned sites of the American West to understand a culture from happenstance preservation. A Colorado artist and teacher, Abels was raised religious in the Midwest. Many of his works capture a suspended moment, reflecting the sense of awe found through the ancients, religion, or advances in innovation.
History of the Future bridge scenes from past and present, possibly even future, masking the narrative between fictitious and actual events. These works ask the viewer to assume the role of anthropologist – to decipher the significance of the narrative: what is the significance of the natural world and its characters, any spiritual and religious aspects, and ultimately how these correspond with the celestial?
We know humanity perpetually seeks knowledge and (personal) truth as an anchor for existence. Intrigued by a quote from Abby Warburg in the early 20th century, Abels introduces modern technologies and figures as contemporary religious iconography. Warburg suggested, “Myth and symbols strive to form spiritual bonds between man and the world around him…creating the space for devotion and reflection – a space destroyed by instantaneous electrical connection.” Is that space destroyed or does technology deserve space in devotion and reflection of the world around us? iPads, drones, Elon Musk, cell phone towers, rocket launches, TED talks become prophets, idols, and prophetic experiences, in History of the Future.
Nathan Abels is represented by RULE Gallery; works courtesy of the artist and RULE Gallery.
Spring 2018 Exhibitions guest curated by Mandy Vink.