Known for its admiration for the dark and macabre, extreme metal is an acute reaction to—and subsequent subversion of—established social, cultural, economic, and religious structures. On the surface, the genre may merely explore various facets of human terror. However, beneath the layers of distortion, strife, and drama are much deeper meanings. Death metal artists have spent decades building out imaginative worlds and mythologies that question the meaning of life through themes such as politics, gender, classism, science fiction, and philosophy.
In “You Will Die,” Public Works showed a collections of paintings, illustrations, and mixed media pieces by iconic extreme metal artists including Dan Seagrave, Justin Bartlett, Jacob Bannon, and Noelia Towers. Together, their work explored the intersections between life and death, reality and illusion, and the spiritual shift between existence and non-existence.
The exhibit, You Will Die, was a reflection on the finiteness of life itself. In the face of our own desperate mortality, what does it mean to be alive?