We humans are so visually overloaded, it's not easy to remember the impact of a single image, yet I have. That's the testament of art, for you. It can beyond the visual to visceral, like the first time I saw the work of Peter Cox. It was one of his older pieces and it was on display at The Art Spirit Gallery as part of a general exhibition, the name of which I definitely do not remember.

What I remember was the face on the canvas staring back at me, an untitled figure study, like one of many Cox does in preparation for larger works. From 1985, it is of a powerfully built man clothes incongruously in what appears to be a leather jacket and a codpiece. His eyes stare past you, a shaft of light catching along his brow, glinting off the metal of the Roman/Greek helmet in front of him. His hand seems to be holding the diamond pattern that levitates in front of him, possibly the design on his shirt but perhaps not. Something in between. A bit of trickery, artfully done, nudging at your willingness to believe.

It's the feeling of that painting that I can't shake, don't want to. It's a feeling I get when I read a story that resonates, one based on archetypes and ancient mythologies told and retold through generations. There's something ancient about a Peter Cox painting, yet his colors and use of paint and ability to create ambiguous space within the canvas is undeniably a modern artistic sensibility.

That feeling isn't present in all the paintings at The Art Spirit Gallery, which I profiled for a recent Inlander story, at least not for me. Some, like Death of Eurydice or Vespers were almost too much for me, a lot of energy, action, organized chaos.

What I'm really drawn to is the stillness, the intensity of works like Mask Study--which has a mirror-like feel to the figure's torso--or Shaman--the androgynous figure painted as if carved from glistening clay. These works speak to a familiar part of me that feels connected to something more, something older, something mysterious and vital.

All that in paint on canvas, as if by magick.