Michael Abel is one of my favourite painters. Simply put, his work looks at how network culture has changed the way we view icons and monuments. There is a genuine curiosity deep inside of Mike that is reflected in his curation and placement of imagery and the presentation of his paintings. Once I noticed that Mike had painted an image of Devils Tower (along side an image of a grumpy cat, an archway, a scene from Ajax, and a Matisse drawing) which I recognized from the 1977 blockbuster – Close Encounters of the Third Kind. In the movie, Roy Neary (an Indiana electrical lineman) has an experience with a UFO and becomes obsessed with creating models of the Devils Tower out of mashed potatoes and then later with dirt and garbage in his living room. Roy makes it to the top of Devils Tower where aliens touch down and communicate with the humans by playing music together.
The image of Devils Tower always stuck with me as an icon for that Steven Spielberg movie where the aliens don’t come to destroy earth, they come to play music instead. When I asked Mike why he painted the Devils Tower he said he’d never actually seen Close Encounters.
– Fantavious Fritz
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