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Alluring Innocence and Seductive Wisdom

James Wolf Strehle

A nearly naked woman stands calmly, as she begins to incandesce. A woman with long white hair and large bat wings sits while another woman lies at her feet. A naked elf woman sits in the forest, admiring a bird on her knee. A young fighter strips off her battle gear. A tanned and oiled athletic woman wearing gauzy strips of fabric carries a pail of water. A slender horned woman with a long tail burns from within.

In the twilight between wakefulness and dreams, we may occasionally catch a glimpse of our own internal struggles between obligation and desire — Good and Evil, if you will. While each such vision is a deeply personal experience, surely some commonalities must exist. Could this subconscious conflict explain our fascination with fantasy icons, or is it simply an attraction to the mysterious mythical beauties depicted by artists such as James Wolf Strehle?

Both virtue and vice are clearly on display in Mr. Strehle’s portfolio, with neither gaining the upper hand. Angels and demons smirk and glower from within his dark character portraits, while beautiful adventurers and corrupted creatures warily stalk one another, looking for a subtle advantage.

Through James’ work, we witness the battle for the hearts and minds of all civilization: tense, sensual forms bathed in hazy light take their places in the spectrum of moral intent. Which extreme sings the most alluring song? Your answer may surprise you.

Written by in July of 2011. Last edited May 2017.

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