Beast from Revelation

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  • Click on image to enlarge

    Photo: Stephen Pitkin/Pitkin Studio
  • Click on image to enlarge

    Photo: Stephen Pitkin/Pitkin Studio
  • Click on image to enlarge

    Photo: Stephen Pitkin/Pitkin Studio
  • Click on image to enlarge

    Photo: Stephen Pitkin/Pitkin Studio
1988
Found wood, plastic beads, putty, nails, and paint
25.5 x 29 x 14 inches

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Evoking traditional African cultural beliefs in animism—the attribution of a spirit or soul to all inanimate objects—Bessie Harvey described her working method: “I go into the woods and listen.

Evoking traditional African cultural beliefs in animism—the attribution of a spirit or soul to all inanimate objects—Bessie Harvey described her working method: “I go into the woods and listen. There is spirits in every piece of wood. I listen to them. They tell me what they want to be.” Some of her resulting sculptures serve as moralizing object lessons drawn from the Bible, and address the dangers of straying from its teachings. Beast from Revelation was inspired by the Biblical text of John’s Revelation, which describes two beasts, one who rose from the sea and “opened his mouth in blasphemy against God,” (Revelations 13:6) and a second who grew out of the earth with “two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon” (Revelation 13:11). Harvey synthesized these apocalyptic creatures and then doused her creation in “haint,” or haunt blue, a color used to ward off evil. —Timothy Anglin Burgard