For over forty years, Ralphael Plescia has been hiding in plain sight, dutifully working in his warehouse on a busy street in Salt Lake City, Utah. The warehouse blends in to a row of shabby old business district buildings, but the work of a gentle genius can be found within.
Ralphael is a monastic craftsman working on his own idiosyncratic temple, a place for him to externalize his inner devotion. Utilizing enormous steel and concrete sculptures, as well as paintings on canvas, panels, and ceilings; Ralphael fuses abandoned fragments of old Biblical theology, well-known passages from Genesis and Revelations, and religious creations of his own personal ingenuity into astonishing images. Underground tunnels and rooms have been hollowed out and built to make space for hell, where narrow pathways and bridges serve as a means to traverse the groundwater bubbling up from below. Scenes from Earth are represented on the main floor while heaven is placed on the top floor, complete with a reconstructed vaulted ceiling. The sculptures and paintings are not within the rooms, but part of them.
This is an eternal work-in-progress, an ever-changing living organism. The heavenly mother goddess Lady Wisdom is a recurring character taking on the kind of importance usually associated with Adam, Eve, Satan, Jesus, and God the father. We see concrete writing and portraiture on the walls, Eve reaching for the forbidden fruit while climbing the back of the red dragon (Satan), and several scenes with Lady Wisdom. He illuminates his vast and elaborate creations with brilliant natural light that spills through well-placed windows or with sinister artificial light rising from below.
'The Gospel According to Ralphael' transmits the experience of visiting Ralphael’s peculiar temple. As a marginalized outsider artist lost within the heart of the Mormon religious and cultural landscape that consistently laments its own lack of prescient artists, Ralphael has always remained dedicated to realizing and fulfilling his vision. We are convinced that his deserving audience will discover him some day.