Those who look closely risk losing themselves in the depths of Ken Cosgrove’s De Profundis. So named after Oscar Wilde’s lyrical supplication on suffering, the five works in the series—Out of the Depths, 1985; Supplication, 1989; Redemption, 1995; Absolution, 2002; and Iniquities, 2010—are feats of technical mastery and draftsmanship, testaments to the infinite patience and quiet exorcism honed over the many years it took Cosgrove to complete them. Evocative of the early Netherlandish painter Hieronymus Bosch’s elaborately gothic style, the fantastical scenes depicted in the works overflow with serpents, angels, demons, zombies, stained-glass church windows, architectural spaces, religious figures, historical icons, and warriors, among other images. Claw-like hands emerge from cracked walls and crevices; angels peer upwards in supplication; serpents coil around muscular figures racing toward the sky. Sinners and saints have much to learn; absolution is just around the corner.
On view at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery
To hear the artist’s audio statement, click the audio player below: