OMNI magazine aimed to provide content on "all realms of science and the paranormal." The platform on which OMNI was built went beyond any regular sci-fi magazine, including an examination of the stunning—yet sometimes bizarre—artwork which permeated its publications.
From blatant expressions of lust, greed, or power to more veiled pieces laced with mystery, artists flocked to OMNI and offered countless unique and stirring images to complement their publications. This article dives in to the world of sci-fi erotic art and attempts a subjective analysis of the work. We examine the minds of some of the art world’s most talented offspring and strive to find the hidden meanings basking in obscurity.
Take a walk across the universe as we study some of the most striking pieces of erotic sci-fi art from the OMNI archives.
Womandroid by Jennifer Eachus
This piece makes no apologies about its sensuality. Soft curves trace a youthful figure with full breasts and an exuding confidence. But it goes further. You get the impression of absolute freedom from this woman; her hands thrown up in wild abandon, you could believe she hasn’t a single care in the world. Then again, maybe she can’t care? Remember the cables that bind and connect her, the holes in her chest, and the divots which slip her waist into her hips. She isn’t human.
Womandroid by Jennifer Eachus, from Harry Harrison’s Robots pictorial, is a delightful piece of art. It depicts all the freedom and joy of the human soul through a mechanical imitation of life. Eachus is a brilliant illustrator and has collaborated on several published storybooks where her illustrations bring the magic of a story to life.
The scenery hints at a settlement in the distance across the cracked and uneven ground. It’s a gentle reminder that sometimes we all need to break away, to run and dance and leave everything behind for a few moments of absolute freedom. Maybe someone is coming to bring her back, or she’s on the cusp of being deactivated. All we know is that in this moment, she could just be alive.
Untitled by Michel Henricot
Michel Henricot is an artist best known for capturing the state of things behind the veil. He paints that netherworld the rest of us can’t even see: "shrouded and and mummified figures, hovering between life and death." He strips back the facade; the mask you show to friends and enemies, the burdens you carry and the joys that brighten your heart are all carefully and exactly brushed aside leaving only the bare and honest truth. He sees the world through a magnificent twilight that we are honored to witness through his paint and canvas.
It is a mark of tremendous skill that this painting reveals so very little explicitly. This person—a man, most likely—seems to glide forward, leading his silent hounds on into the impenetrable mist. A renown hunter blazing a trail through the darkness to confront a great evil? Or a blind man, stumbling and guided by his loyal companions as he navigates his way through limbo, to the great white light of life and away from the darkness of eternal solitude to the right? Or maybe just a dog-walker in the fog.
Its meaning is unclear, but its power is tangible.
Painting by Hans-Ulrich Osterwalder
Hans-Ulrich Osterwalder is a German artist who studied at the Fine Arts School of Zurich before becoming a well-known graphic artist with works commissioned in film, magazine, and even fantasy novels for the likes of Philip K Dick and H.P. Lovecraft. He later became an illustration techniques teacher at the Applied Arts School of Lugano.
Known simply as Painting to most of the internet community, this is almost conservative by the standards of such an eccentric and abstract artist as Osterwalder. When many modern artists opt for the "say what you see" approach to creation (i.e. making art which people understand) Osterwalder’s creative mind lies so far outside the box as to be a distant pinprick; His work however, astounds. A bespectacled heart smoking a cigar, or multiple-exposure portrait shots I couldn’t begin to describe.
This Painting depicts the a beautiful woman, but the focus is her brain: a gorgeous myriad maze beneath a miniature galaxy of stars, or maybe a blazing fireworks display of firing neutrons. Fading in to the horizon it could be a suggestion of the limitless depths of the human consciousness. Or maybe he’s simply endeavoring—as we all do—to capture the bamboozling complexity of the female mind.
Untitled by Gerard Di-Maccio
Visually stunning, this painting is as intriguing as it is elusive; Trawling the internet will reveal plenty about the immodest "leader of the visionary movement of French art" Gerard Di-Maccio—an award-winning artist from the Fine Arts School of Alger at only fourteen years old—but precious little, if anything, about this particular piece.
Di-Maccio is the artist incarnate; He works with paints or pastels, created lithographs and Giclées, worked beautiful portraits and abstract multiple-exposure layer pieces worthy of Osterwalder. He is also the father of the largest oil painting in the world: a wonder of art which flows across a 27x9m canvas depicting the infinite nature of the universe and the relativity of space and time. Some parallels can be drawn between this and our featured piece here. Amid the complex and interweaved locks and ornate decorations, there is a small window expanding out into the depths of the universe.
It’s but a glimpse, but it feels like Di-Maccio is baiting or challenging us to look deeper and see farther into his work.
End of the World by Les Edwards
Entitled End of the World, this image is every bit as powerful and poignant as its name. It took pride of place on the cover of Alien Landscapes, a stunning collection of specially commissioned paintings which depict the landscapes and settings of some of sci-fi’s most fantastic places. This piece was so well received that it covered a haunting, post-apocalyptic fiction novel by Jack London in a later release.
The image depicts a solitary figure—possibly a soldier—standing quite nonchalantly on the end of some precipice. You get an idea of their elevation from the advanced, lingering spaceship to the left. Not only that, but their gaze is sitting downward, away from the colossal, blazing ball of magmatic light that looks to engulf them. Are they utterly unfazed, glancing lazily around while a supernova threatens to envelop the planet? Or staring listlessly and with utter dejection as they—the last surviving member of the species—are engulfed by a final, fiery torrent consuming all that mankind has ever known?
So little is known about this piece that I can only speculate—what I can say for certain is that it’s moving. The bright light and solitary being might spell the beginning of a great survival story, but the barren wasteland and dystopic title wrench that idea from us. This is a painting demanding answers to big existential questions, and you might lose yourself in trying to find them.
Untitled by Ute Osterwald
Another piece by the illustrious Hans Ulrich Osterwalder—under his pseudonym Ute Osterwald—which was featured on the cover of the 1981, July edition of OMNI magazine. There is a strong vein of similarity between this and Painting. The more obvious examples are the powder blue hues which recede into darkness at the canvas edges and the smooth and lively feminine form whose body is only hinted but whose brain is revealed.
The sharp, hard triangular edges are in stark contrast to the supple, webbed pathways that attempt to define the human consciousness. There’s an almost-electric feel to those neural networks, pulsating and alive and exposed to the world.
Her lips are opened, maybe in pleasure; gasping and moaning at some powerful stimulus, her brain alight and firing as endorphins flood her system leaving her alive, truly alive in that single moment.
But I also see shock. The dark, fathomless blues creep and spiral up her brain, into her mind, leaving her breathless, numb and reeling as her final sanctuary is overcome, leaving her nothing. Empty.
Untitled by Paul Wunderlich
Complex, confusing, erotic, and intriguing. Adjectives abound and yet only one thing is truly accurate: You just can’t look away. This piece by Paul Wunderlich wakens the beast of curiosity within and once stirred, it searches and yearns to glean the meaning or the purpose of this distorted and sensual construction.
The core of the piece is the smooth and curvaceous frame of a beautiful woman, protecting her modesty but inviting closer inspection; She exudes both a coy self-consciousness and an overwhelming physical confidence. The legs skew in impossible dimensions—a glaring reminder that whatever we’re seeing, it isn’t real. It’s the face which shatters illusion. Like so many shards of glass, her face gives you pause, invites caution, and forces a reconsideration of the bodacious lust you felt previous.
Whether it’s an innocuous pattern, the blurred capture of a demon coursing through the image or a glimpse into her future—grim, withered and dead—isn’t known. What is known is the curiosity: It remains, immovable as you consume and digest every facet of this painting searching and craving an answer: What are you?
Madonna Without a Child by Rallé
This is a beautiful piece of art and you’d expect nothing less from an artist whose nickname is "Master of the Town of Consuls," or MTC. A fervent proponent of the surrealism movement, MTC (real name Rallé) has work on display across the globe and has recently featured in the illustrious gallery of Bruce R. Lewin Fine Art in New York. His work has also permeated the world of paper publishing, featured on a variety of book covers, magazine issues, and articles.
Save for its name, Madonna Without a Child is another of those elusive works of art of which very little is really known. It might have been intended as a what-could-have-been response to "Madonna of Bruges"—the famous Michelangelo sculpture of the Virgin Mary and her son—if you know, Mary had become Queen overlord of a superb intergalactic war. The name probably holds great meaning to the artist and my speculations quite off-the-mark.
Have another look at the painting itself. Specifically, the eyebrows. I’d examined this painting a dozen times before it dawned that she isn’t just in costume, but part of that costume. Does she have horns? Is this a machine creating a human look-alike? The soft, flawless white skin paints a picture so innocent that I almost wish I hadn’t inspected so closely. Now I’ll need to dive deeper to get some answers.
Untitled by Daniel Monic
In an interview, Daniel Monic talks about "the beginnings of fear, the birth of fear" in his work, and you can completely feel the origins of fear building up on first glance. The pearl white figure seemingly floating in the air is an afterthought entertained when you finally tear your eyes from her surroundings.
A sea of felines, cold and hewn from stone, gaze curiously (or deferentially?) up at this phantom figure hovering above. There’s no hint of bodies, or even a floor, just an bottomless darkness beneath them and extending to the horizon. How many more scarred and crumbling cats sit patient in the darkness, a faint star visible on the horizon? Their blue eyes and grey bodies send shivers up spines, but it’s the message behind it we desire.
Who is she? In that same interview Monic mentions that through "development of our consciousness, we can free ourselves of this fear"—is that what the woman represents? The collective consciousness of hope and love and light, guiding these lost creatures through the darkness?
Untitled by H.R. Giger
H.R. Giger is an Academy Award winning creator from Zurich. His Oscar came as part of the groundbreaking special effects team responsible for the iconic artwork from the movie Alien.
His work often blurs the line between man and machine to create wild, fantastic images which blend between one and the other to weave creations that strike you dumb. This piece is no exception. The centerpiece is the pale, perfect face of a beautiful woman whose expression is fixed in something like fear or sudden realization. A recurring theme in abstract sci-fi portraiture is taking the pure and innocent human form and melding it into something greater, colder and more mechanical.
Like the headdress of Isis of ancient Egypt, this woman’s head folds upward into horns, textured like a complex machine they spread and wind to form an intricate "Matrix code" pattern. The image is cold—only bright greens and blue-whites—and only reinforces the idea that this woman is something more advanced, and more unfathomable than any other.