The reception for “Divinity Degenerate” by Mark Dean Veca attracted a small crowd of students and professors Tuesday night at the Tall Wall Space in the Arts and Communications Building.
The Tall Wall displays large-scale Pegasus silhouettes in a 400-inch by 554-inch space.
Each Pegasus tilts downward, which is the opposite of the Mobil logo the flying horse is designed after and creates windows, revealing a sunset.
“Divinity then refers to the sort of mythology, so we see this fleet or fleets of flying horses not ascending but descending,” said Dion Johnson, director of university art galleries. “It could be that they are making a graceful landing; it could also be read as having a sort of crash course. So there is this wonderful duality to it.”
Creating “Divinity Degenerate” took about a year, which included the conception and creation of the piece.
“I tried to do as much planning in advance, because I’ve got a limited amount of time to be working here,” Veca said. “I tried to have everything ready to go.”
Veca laid out the design on Photoshop and made the Pegasus silhouettes to scale. He spray-painted the sunset background over the entire wall, starting with yellow and working his way up to red. Next, he used chalk to outline the Pegasus stencil. To finish, he painted the negative space white and added the black calligraphic detail.
“I feel like there is a certain kind of magic that happens by taking a few simple lines and putting them together in a certain way that creates form and space,” Veca said. “That is the basis of everything I do.”
That magic has captivated students as well as Johnson, who has known Veca for five years and has exhibited with him in Los Angeles.
Last year, Johnson opened a dialogue with Veca and provided support and possibilities for the wall.
“All the creative is Mark, and I help him paint the wall, to install the wall, to work through any problem solving so that he can complete his vision,” Johnson said. “It’s his art, not mine.”
Mixed feelings about the dramatic piece were apparent.
“It kind of makes me want to turn away, and I admire it for that,” sophomore philosophy major Kelsey Jon said.
“I understand that art is supposed to extract emotion from you, and it’s a pretty strong emotion. I do not like the degree of change. As you get higher, it just gets more fierce. I like tranquility.”
While some disliked the descending Mobil logo, others at the reception marveled at it.
“I think it is exciting,” said Al Clark, associate vice president for academic affairs. “I love the colors. I love the feeling of movement. I love the proportions. At the same time, it brings back childhood memories because of the logo that it comes from, the Mobil logo.”
As soon as he saw the flying horse, the Mobil logo came to mind.
Most of Veca’s art is both personal and universal with recognizable imagery. He wants people to make associations with his work.
“I like to use things that are both personal and universal, things that I can relate to personally and what I think people can generally relate to and make certain associations,” Veca said.
He wanted to create a recognizable and thought evoking piece.
“It has to do with a lot of different things, but you see this sort of acid sunset that is caused by pollution,” he said.
“It’s interesting seeing this because a sunset is a symbol of change, and maybe we are changing from a season when the Mobil logo is so prevalent to when we are seeing other oil companies, other hybrid companies and more sustainable solar powered functions coming about,” said sophomore communications major Melanie Loon. “It seems to be fitting for ‘Divinity Degenerate,’ that there is a sort of switch in power going on.”
“Divinity Degenerate” is on display until May 30.
Hayley Hulin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.