Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Geometric Hypnotism : The Secret life of Eugene Andolsek

I love tales of a lone obsessive secretly and unknowingly creating masterpieces for no other reason than satisfying the desire to make them. I also have a love for artwork that assists facilitating hypnotic modes of consciousness (I think the two generally always go together). So upon discovering the extraordinarily intense, vibrant and trance inducing drawings of Eugene Andolsek I was even more enamoured when I heard the humble story about the production of these stunning images.

Eugene was a discontented stenographer for the Rock Island Railroad who spent over 50 years quietly producing these captivating images of geometric complexity and radiant colour at his kitchen table. His images were never displayed or exhibited to anyone, and Eugene himself did not have any interest in them after the joy of creation had concluded. For years these intricate gateways into altered states lay dormant in Eugene’s closets and draws. As Eugene retired from his working life, failing eyesight and ill health forced to him into the care of a retirement home. It was here a care give, first fell under the spell of Eugene’s visual hallucinogens and quickly brought them to the attention of the director of the Andy Warhol Museum of Art in Pittsburgh. Soon after this exposure Eugene’s works were included in the exhibition ‘Obsessive Drawing’ at the American Folk Art Museum New York.

For me the images are cathartic and alchemic. Visually they resonate something primitive, connecting with ancient cultures and indigenous tribes who understood the importance of such images as tools for spiritual growth, wisdom and connection with the divine. The everydayness of their production only adds to their spiritual significance by reminding us ‘that is better to have travelled well than to arrive.’