The Seals of the Philosophers originally appeared in the Opus medico-chymicum of Johann Daniel Mylius, a 3000 page alchemical text published in 1618. The seals were 160 copper plate engravings commemorating real and imaginary alchemists. Their hermetic symbolism and Latin mottoes served both didactic and mnemonic functions for practitioners of the art.
For over a decade, the seals have provided Douglas MacWithey with a container for his own studio practice. His examinations of their content and permutations on their structure have produced drawings, collages and sculpture that are part of an ongoing artistic project in which each decision generates new directions for visual realization.
This current project includes works on paper in gouache and collage and sculpture from the past five years. To accompany the work, curator Charles Dee Mitchell provides a brief Introduction, and short Glossary of Terms, and Suggestions for Further Reading.