Shanna Waddell

shanna waddell-jonestown painting
Jonestown (2010)

And now, ladies and gentlemen, I present to you some of the work of the California-born, Philadelphia-based artist Shanna Waddell.  Portals, bursts of every imaginable color, human forms abstracted out of and then back into themselves again; there are the tools that Ms. Waddell uses to literally paint portraits of figures who (at some point, at least) captured America’s attention.  While her work is not all based upon cult symbols, she has a strong sense of the spiritual as imagery rooted in classic religious painting shows spiritual tenets like the eternal nature of the soul (see her sets River Phoenix and Kurt Cobain).  More obvious though is Ms. Waddell’s consistent use of darker colors and black specifically bringing the literal darkness of physical death into her work and at the same time representing the figurative darkness of those who do now know the truth (i.e. by following cult leaders like Harold Camping of Marshall Applewhite).  I would assume that the artist knows that most art lovers are not necessarily turned on by religious art at this point in time and it is a credit to her that her work is so visually arresting and unique as to make the subject matter fascinating.  Looking at her work as a whole, I get a sense that Ms. Waddell is aiming to express the unseen, spiritual forces that are so often talked about in religious/cultic dialogue and as jarring as some of her pieces are, I wouldn’t doubt that she’s hitting pretty close to the mark.  Take a look at last year’s Satan set and pay attention to the feeling of the pieces to see what I mean.

Shannawaddell-Transient Exit
Transient Exit (2013)
shanna waddell satan painting 2013
Death Angel (Satan) – 2013
shannauntitledheaven's gate
Untitled (Heaven’s Gate Cult) – 2010
shanna waddell marshall applewhite heavens gate 2011
Marshall Applewhite – Portrait (Heaven’s Gate) – 2011
shanna_waddell untitled river phoenix painting
Untitled (River Phoenix) – 2013
shannawaddell-haroldcamping false prophet painting
Harold Camping (False Prophet) – 2010

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