Thursday, September 1, 2011


HEMI is GOD.  The name refers to a particularly big V-8 engine that Chrysler Corp. produced (and still does) around 1957.  It’s short for hemispheric.  The top of the combustion chamber is a hemisphere so that the valves could be at a 45 degree angle and the spark plug at top center.  It was state of the art in 50’s and got more horsepower per cubic inch than a Chevy or Ford. You get more power by burning more fuel. 

The sculpture altarpiece “Hemi” is another homage to combustion.  The closed doors depict a supercharged “HEMI.”  When you open the altar, you see 4 images on the doors.  They are architectural, as if they were rooms, or like little altars in themselves.  They show the combustion chamber, and the 4 cycles of the internal combustion engine.  The first, top left, is the intake.  The valve is open and the piston is on its way down, sucking in the air and fuel mixture.  Then, in the second cycle, top right, the piston is moving up, compressing the air and the fuel.  Third cycle,  bottom left,  the spark plug has fired and ignited the fuel and air mixture, driving the piston down, the power stroke, turning the engine crank and releasing power.  In the fourth cycle, bottom right, the exhaust valve is open, and the piston is coming back up, pushing out the burnt offering. The center of the altarpiece is 3-D fire in its glory.  This piece depicts the four cycles as a sacrament.

People in the future will think that our huge commitment to the prestige of the internal combustion engine over so much of the earth and for such a long period of time must have been our religion.  

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