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Incense Journal

Natural incense info from music to listen to while burning incense to incense history

Incense in the Art Gallery

Mike Pare

“Ring On Fire”, 2019, Media: incense, ash, concrete burner

“Ring On Fire”, 2019, Media: incense, ash, concrete burner

This piece I made is in a group show at Andrew Edlin Gallery New York, opening April 27. The show is curated by Andrew Guenther, a fellow artist and crafter. He is a great painter and jeweler and you should look at his work here:

Guenther came up with the concept for the show:

“Big Ringer is an exhibition of artists making their own interpretations of the diamond engagement ring, or ring of value that connotes some type of formal agreement. 

Wedding rings and engagement rings have been exchanged since the Romans. Over time the meanings of engagement rings have ranged from religious talismans, agreements of ownership, symbols of value, and tokens of union or devotion. It is only around the 1930s that retailers began to push the sparkling diamond settings as we know them today. 

While rings are traditionally made from precious metals and I don’t expect artists in the exhibition to follow this example but rather use what is available. The artists are free to interpret and reimagine the engagement ring in any material they see fit. The rings do not have to be gender specific and may even be for the self.”

…And from the gallery website: “Prior to our modern understanding of the circulatory system, many believed a vein ran directly from the fourth finger of the left hand to the heart. The vena amoris, or vein of love, was seen as the conduit to a loved one's heart. Placing a wedding band or engagement ring on this finger was meant to be a supernatural link to the wearer's partner, a symbol of unity. Over time, rings have grown in size and opulence, carrying heavier cultural expectations.”


Here are my notes on Ring of Fire:

“This is the first piece of work I've decided to present that incorporates my recent interest in incense materials. The Ring of Fire is a temporary sculpture that exists in the memories of the viewer, in ways both visual and olfactory. The sense of smell can make a lasting impression and has the power to invoke memories. On the topic of the show, this work emphasises ritual associated with commitment. The ring does not last-but the memory does. The smell of the incense materials experienced in the future is bound to evoke the memory of the piece, and thus the themes of the exhibit. The ring itself is an offering, an invocation, and a pact. “

Here are all of the rings I made for the exhibit. The Ash is Japanese rice ash.

Here are all of the rings I made for the exhibit. The Ash is Japanese rice ash.