Museums + Galleries

Stairway to Heaven

If you build it, this is what might happen.

A detail from Ink Babel by Andrea Carlson
Photo courtesy of Andrea Carlson
A detail from Ink Babel by Andrea Carlson

In the Bible story about the Tower of Babel, a united humanity is punished for the hubris of trying to build a tower to heaven. Artist Andrea Carlson mines that story for a massive new oil and ink work called Ink Babel, which anchors a solo show at Bockley Gallery later this month.

Inflected with a graphic novel aesthetic, the piece consists of 60 panels and took more than a year to complete. At 15 feet wide by 10 feet tall, the artwork becomes a sort of portal to a monochromatic world populated by a tower, rocket ships, divination tools, an Egyptian god, a watery landscape punctuated by pointed tooth-like outcroppings, and a wild pig. The artist also references the Golden Record, a gold disc with messages from Earth transported aboard NASA’s Voyager space mission.

The work is “inspired by Tower of Babel,” says Carlson, but it is propelled by her fascination with another manmade “spire to the sky”: storytelling.

Opens Aug. 8. Bockley Gallery, 2123 W. 21st St., Mpls., 612-377-4669,