Strange Machina Series

Prayer Machine II, 2002

The Strange Machina Series consists of functional sculptures that appear to have some mysterious industrial purpose, but are intended only to intrigue and amuse.  This series brings to mind old patent drawings or forgotten objects found in an old basement or an abandoned lab.  This work walks a meandering line between the antique and the mad scientist.

If the great artists of the Renaissance had been able to combine their talent for invention with their passion for the Arts, they might have made a Prayer Machine, a device for amplifying one’s prayers, complete with leaded glass, flying buttresses, and spitting fire.  That is exactly what Santa Cruz artist Wes Modes has done with his interactive, whimsical sculptures Prayer Machines I, II, and III.  You are invited to twiddle, tweak, push, pull, and interact with a collection of his recent work of Strange Machina.

Absolverator, 2002

My work asks you to participate in some way.   It asks you to be part of it, to touch, interpret or analyze, get lost in reverie or be jolted into the present.  I want it to reach out and invite you to play some role, a button pusher, a prayer whisperer, a diviner of mysteries.


Exhibitions featuring the Strange Machina Series:

  • McHenry Library Inaugural Staff Exhibit, UC Santa Cruz. March 2012. Group show. An exhibition of works from University Library staff to inaugurate the opening of the renovated McHenry Library.
  • Ars Felix Externus at Felix Kulpa Gallery, Santa Cruz. July 2002. Group show. An exhibition featuring 8 recent outdoor and indoor metal sculptures at a Santa Cruz gallery and sculpture garden.
  • Members Only at Santa Cruz Art League. March 2002. Group show. Exhibition featuring new work. The show is open to members of the Art League and judged by popular vote.
  • Recent Works at Retro Gallery, Santa Cruz. June 1996. An exhibition of recent works, including a variety of lamps made from old irons and toasters, at a small local gallery.

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