I am intrigued by practices that bring unconscious experiences into consciousness. The artwork develops while exploring the C.G. Jungian practices of Dream Exploration, Active Imagination and Authentic Movement. The artwork emerges while exploring the awareness practices of meditation and mindfulness, an attention to the inner body of Body-Mind Centering, and the spontaneity of Movement and Theater Improvisation, C.G. Jung believed that the unconscious has two natural pathways for speaking to the conscious mind; one is by dreams, the other is through Active Imagination. Dreams create a language of images that express conflicts, interactions and dynamics within one's inner life. Active Imagination is a method of introspection that invites the people and creatures of the unconscious and collective unconscious to arise and make contact. The process is one of listening deeply, and inviting the inner parts to engage in dialogue. These practices ask me to deeply reflect on what matters in the world, and to me. The story paintings bring visual form to the exploration of diversity, identity, relationships, animal extinction, the environment and the unconscious realm. These paintings juxtapose people from various cultures and races, interacting with each other, spiritual beings, and imaginary animal like creatures. The images draw from a variety of cultural traditions, mythologies and religious backgrounds. The images surface from the personal experience of traveling, teaching and working with diverse populations of people, as well as my individual cultural background. When I paint, I work intuitively, opening to the unconscious through a deep listening. Some of the work arises as I concentrate on bringing a quality of attention on some impressive but unintelligible dream image. Such as the dream image of a Native American Indian woman that opens a door with apprehension, to a room full of imaginary animal spirits as in the painting Visions. A sequence of dream images, may ask to take visual form, for instance in the painting Conjure, when I journeyed to Nevada, where I dreamed of an eagle conjuring a sorcerer to create a ritual where animals would slowly take form, and come back from extinction. Active Imagination as an artistic process is one of leaving the external world behind, as figures ask to come into consciousness and be known. A recurrent visitor is the dragon as protector, as in Dragon Protector, as creative muse in Jamaican Splendor and as a flying witness in Cradled in the Turbulence. The dragon is a mythical beast found in Asian cultures, and in European folk traditions related to the Balkans and Druid mythologies. Some of the mixed-media artwork emerges from the materials, watching the watercolors flow into each other, opening access to the flow of the imagination. Some of the work emerges during an Authentic Movement session no longer in image or dream but now in my body, allowing the movement to happen, as my psyche and body draw or paint between movement experiences. Authentic Movement was developed by Mary Stark Whitehouse, a dancer and psychotherapist who applied Jung's method of Active Imagination to movement. Inner parts speak, move, and ask to be seen in a painting. During an Authentic Movement session a woman in a burka appeared. She took visual form in the painting Cloaked where a woman in a colorful burka is surrounded by human and animal spirits giving her courage and support. The artwork can be fantastical, verging on the surreal, where creatures interact with sorcerers, angels, devas or nature spirits in imaginary environments. Devas, and Nature Spirits can be found in Hindu, and Buddhist cultures, depicted in paintings such as Rising Spirit, or Water Spirit. Angels can appear in the artwork as well, such as in Swooping Down where an angel surprises a hybrid turtle and owl creature, as she descends. Some of the work arises after exploring theater or movement improvisation scores, where figures appear, converse, and play with other improvisers. After a group movement and theater improvisation score, a painting took form, where there is a journey past an alien, a transparent horse like creature, traveling past a Native American spirit guardian, and a dragon spirit guardian in conflict, before Entering the Void. The images in the paintings are juxtaposed, sometimes whimsical and playful, calm and meditative, or full of struggle. The paintings unfold, each piece strange, unique, slowly forming, with a playful logic that unifies, and yet seems authentic. Each piece circles the veils between reality and imaginary worlds, asking is this a dream, a memory, a body sensation, a magical story, or a glimpse at something other. The aim to is offer the viewer new perspectives, and a creative understanding of cultural differences, or to ponder a new possibility for existence. My intention as an artist is to invite the viewer to be curious, to move into a space of their own imagination, and speculate about what the artwork inspires in them. The abstract painting are sourced from internal experiences as well. Some of the abstract paintings develop during a Body- Mind Centering exploration of my inner body systems. Visualizing my full body, fluid filled internal organs, as in the painting Inner World. Entering a cellular breathing body state and experiencing the spaciousness of cellular consciousness, where space and a thin fascial web surround the cells, and then creating Floating Cells. Some of the abstract work is created after mediation practice where a calm, peaceful presence is embodied, and then takes visual form as in Reflection. Once down on paper I can now see the unconscious or collective unconscious made conscious and reflect upon it. I do not always know the meaning, and each new viewing allows further interpretation. A single piece can have a weaving of references: personal, collective, global, memory, dreams, rituals, body impressions, landscapes- past, present moment and future. As I work on a piece I usually begin to have a name or a story about the work. This bringing the unconscious into consciousness keeps me engaged in the piece. Quite often references overlap leading to multiple associations. This multiple meaning making, flows through the creative process, and applies when the work hangs on the wall.
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