January 20th, 2018 – February 17th, 2018
Opening reception: Saturday, January 20th at 7 PM
On January 20th, 2018, Last Rites Gallery is pleased to present Damien Echols’ High Magick. In his debut solo exhibition with the gallery, Echols aims to create a sacred space and to demonstrate that the techniques of ceremonial magick are not relics from a bygone age.
Echols started drawing talismans made up of symbols, or sigils, which associate with meditative processes. They were created to hold energy, like a prayer. Today, he paints talismans on wood panels with hand-lettered symbolism. Once the energy for a specific task is put into a talisman, the image and sigils hold the intention and carry it out, like a “divine battery”. Echols’ creations are more than just paintings and drawings, they are living images that he encourages viewers to immerse themselves in. For High Magick, Echols has created talismans that are charged with the energy of the archangels.
In 1994 Echols was wrongfully accused and sentenced to death row for 18 years. Through outside support and documentaries like “Paradise Lost” and “West of Memphis”, he was able to make an appeal and new DNA evidence was submitted to the case resulting in his eventual release.
For Echols, Magick was a coping mechanism to distract from mental and physical turmoil during his time in prison. Creating talismans helped him preserve his sanity and focus direct his attention away from pain, humiliation and trauma he was undergoing.
“When I was in prison, it almost sounds crazy to say, but I would get so immersed in creating art and trying to express certain things, that there were times when I almost wouldn’t see the prison walls for days at a time because I was so turned inwards” – Damien Echols
Magick is often misconceived as being associated with demonic practices. It is, in actuality a tradition of light and of divine energy. Echols strives to create artwork that puts magick in a tangible form to share with the world. Magick is a rich practice that is still alive and vital in modern times, and we can use it to shape our lives for the better.
Damien Echols is an artist and New York Times, bestselling author. He has been a practitioner of ceremonial Magick for over 20 years and leads classes on Magick across the country. He spent over 18 years on death row in Arkansas for a crime he didn’t commit before gaining his freedom in 2011. Upon release, he, along with Peter Jackson produced the documentary film “West of Memphis” which chronicled his legal battle. During his time in prison, he was ordained into the Rinzai Zen tradition of Japanese Buddhism. Echols’ artwork consists of glyphs, sigils, and symbols designed to bypass the conscious mind and speak directly to the subconscious. He uses a combination of traditional ceremonial Magick techniques combined with his own alphabet/code to break down concepts and scenarios into abstract designs. Echols lives in New York City with his wife and three cats.
The opening reception for High Magick will be held at Last Rites Gallery 325 W 38th St #1, New York, NY 10018 on January 20th, 2018 from 7pm to 10pm. This event is open to the public. Artist will be in attendance. The exhibition will be on view through February 17th, 2018. For inquiries, or to request a collector preview of the exhibition, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.