My inspiration for this series title “Sacred Vessels” come from my thoughts about healing. I look at materials I used in creating this series, it is about the wood that I choose, wood that had a previous use and spent time in the desert weathering the elements over many seasons. It has marinated in the DNA of the desert and recorded the desert experience both day and night.
Spiritually speaking, I have explored the nature of healing and the influence of light to the process. God is described as Light in many of the major religions. Light plays an important role in my work. Most of my pieces are infused with translucent phosphorescence layers. These layers emit a light, a glow in dark and the darker the setting the stronger the light.
I remember an evening where my mind and soul wandered into a thick darkness, a wilderness place that I came across looking for answers to prayer and meditation on healing I was seeking. In the heavy darkness, one of my pieces provided enough light to refuel faith and hope.
Taos is spiritually magical and has special places of healing and mission Chimayo being one of those healing places. I embed soil I have collected from Mission Chimayo within all my artwork.
I like to believe that my pieces help contemplate spirituality. That although God is invisible his manifestation can be perceived by the power of Light, the emotion of love. and His healing nature.
Finally, music influence my work and remembered the message from the group Jars of Clay.
2 Cor 4:7
If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness. We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives.
A message is embedded in our ordinary lives….we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.
I am reminded as an artist that I have Light to share.
A sunset framed against the desert horizon, a sign that special moments are about to begin: it’s a brief interlude before the light of the day becomes the light of the night.
Moments like this are sacred, I want to believe its time like this that connects me with the spiritual realm, allowing me time to explore and commune with something greater than the dimensions I exist. “I want these moments to last longer,” I say. Much harder to explain…easier to experience.
There are times in the studio where I experience a spiritual stillness and humility. Love those desert nights.
When I let go, I guide my thoughts into prayers. ..and somehow the prayers become a spoken layer in my work like an image of an invisible God. My night encounters have become sacred rituals, connecting God and my work.
Interesting where thoughts arise as I imagine that I am creating healing pieces focusing on the themes of the restoration of health and harmony. The curative properties of Light are expressed deeper in darker settings where I imagine the prayer layers are visible as light energy. I imagine the light energy collected and stored in a sacred vessel during the day and dispensed into the night and the darker the setting: this light protects the night and connects to God.
“Within the process of creating my work, there is a time that the work brings me to “places” that fill me with the spaciousness of the universe while my artificial boundaries are disolved. It feels like freedom, and Exodus from life tethered in four dimensions”
Our personal journeys take us to many places. At times we find ourselves along paths that are unmarked and without light to guide us. We are forced to confront fears that only darkness can produce. But we are driven to explore, it is part of our DNA as humans whether it is reaching to the stars or the depths of the ocean or… the boundaries of our imagination. We begin the journey as children: bringing natural curiosity as artists, scientist, and philosophers.
A new series of work titled “Beneath the Darkness” reveals imaginary desert and ocean realms. Places and moments of time where light penetrates the darkness providing hope, security, and inspiration. A concealed LED light illuminates the cast resin layers in the cross-like shape and radiates a light within the steel and plexiglass base.
I had a sense of creating something sacred, perhaps a holy vessel, something that can produce a sense of peace and maybe miraculous healing. My own faith says that is possible. Some say that prayer is talking to God and meditation is listening to God. I hope the piece becomes that beacon providing the light into a voyage to a sacred harbor.
Two in a series: Resin-Steel & Light 19″x 11″x4″ See at the Ice House
First Friday April 7th 2017.
The sycamore slab takes on a new life juxtaposed against a corrugated steel background, like an ancient relic, a religious icon illuminating a dark outdoor space. There is new meaning in this space, the context has changed-the space has been transformed and in its center is the light emanating from piece “Lost Memories”
The wood was termite infested, crooked, twisted and weathered in the Arizona desert sun, I was drawn to this 10′ sycamore slab for those reasons-the greater the deterioration, the great the opportunity to transform the piece and claim it as yours.
I saw the wounds to this tree, the borings into its flesh and perhaps was the debilitating condition that ended the life of this magnificent tree. I was drawn casting resins into the “live” edge of the slab, the process of restoring, is almost fetish like and a driving influence in my work. The edge of this piece with translucent layering of resin casts with phosphorescent and pearlescent powders, has become the focal point of this piece. Illuminating the edge with LED lighting provides an other worldly appearance, confronting the viewer.
During the process of creating, there is a time to let the “muse” take over… that involves letting go of my desire and my efforts and creating what God has called me to create. Allowing faith to infuse my art is a major part of my creating process.
When I am alone working in my studio, listening to the silent sounds of the desert, I ponder so many questions, themes and challenges. Lifeless wooden slabs confront me in the studio-rough surfaces-crevices and live edges. Hostility is depicted by the jagged, sharp pitted edges as well as the size of the piece that confronts me. This lifeless but beautiful fragment of a once prosperous living entity; a majestic Sycamore tree existing in the wilderness was my task for reclamation. I am certain, that when God saw my life- He saw the same challenge.
Phil 2:13 For God is working in you-giving you the desire and power to do what pleases…Him.
A lost memory recaptured on recent trips to Taos, NM and Barcelona, Spain. A spiritual journey began with visits to churches and basilicas in Barcelona, Spain. Sagrada Famila is famous worldwide a church that has been under construction for over a 100 years and complete by 2025…they hope.
Mission church Chimayo, outside of Taos is one of the best examples of an early Spanish Colonial mission. In this case, it is a “healing” place, like Sedona, AZ and other healing places in the southwest. Chimayo mission is the site of physical and mental healings, some say miracles. We often mistake problems that require a spiritual solution-not a financial one.
Inside mission Chimayo are 2 separate rooms-in one, crutches hang on every wall, a testament of physical healing. From this room, you enter another room-low slung and no bigger than 10’x10′-central to this room is the small well in the middle of the floor of this room filled with the “healing” dirt from the land. Visitors are encouraged to take some of the dirt…Sandra did.
My traditional view is that church buildings were built to inspire us to focus on God. Spires, stained glass windows, and items on the altar were created to depict religious themes and to point our lives away from the earthly realm and focus on a heavenly realm.
A limited series of work, I created with my favorite mixed media-Wood-Resin-Steel & Light and bringing into existence my own version of a “monstrance”.My vessels display something holy-fragments and I choose the land, sky, water and an unseen world. There is a place where beings in the Rio Grande gorge ascend seeking a light from a wooden shard hovering above them and containing the healing power of the land. Light emitted from the piece breaks the darkness surrounding it. I think of the opportunity to spend moments of meditation during this period of light… a time of prayer and being thankful for all that God has created.
A “show” was just a passing thought one late winter night among unfinished pieces in my new studio space. My new work needed to be shown; Obliq Art had not put on a show in 16 months. I thought of all the good times we had and miss so many of the artists and collectors and just friends who made Obliq Art a regular stop on First Friday…and that thought was sown into the universe that night. “The right people will show up”. “The right space will show up”. Sometimes you have to walk in faith.
My work was about restoration of wood and about adding a different dimension to wood. Clear and colorized resins were pour into termite caused borings. Phosphorescent resins casts were added as well as casts with pearlescent powders. Lost Memories was created this past winter. A termite infested, crooked, twisted and weathered Sycamore slab that spent much time in the Arizona desert sun. A perfect piece to restore and reclaim. Another thought…Lives are like that.
Pete Deise and I have become friends over the last year. He reminds me of the surfer who first surfed Mavericks alone for years-a lonely pioneer living a pioneers life. Who else creates massive steel sculptures in an outdoor studio setting and at 115 degrees? I’m infatuated with his new work and personally I want to see his work have a larger footprint in downtown Phoenix especially in some of the downtown buildings and projects I am involved with, like the Jackson Street warehouses I am selling. Setting his shows are a little different than hanging paintings in a typical gallery setting, it was fun and challenging putting together this show.
Justin Queal and I have been getting to know each other, its been about 2-3 years. The Myopia show is our first time showing together. We’ve broke bread, set this show, gave him a lead on a potential commission (which he got) and spent time together talking about art. Again another artist that I admire and getting to know him and his lovely artist wife, Abbey. Its a rich life when you have relationships like this. Flourish comes to mind when I think of Justin’s future.
Constance McBride and Cheryl Brandon have been in my consciousness for a while, especially Constance whom I first met at Obliq Art at the Arizona Center. Met Cheryl at the Fred Tieken’s Az 45 show in his gallery in Paradise Valley. Two very distinct ceramic artists with a wonderful following. Great contrast to the large pieces. We are resetting the gallery and their pieces in the space with more room to “breathe” and visible 360 degrees.
Someone asked me, “When are your shows”? I guess the short answer is “When I want”. Look forward to seeing how Obliq Art evolves. The Myopia show has allowed me and the other artist to experiment in the space.
The show opens again on Third Friday, March 18 at 7 pm and from noon to 5 PM on Saturday. Lots of parking behind the space as well as street and park parking.
New City Studio- 1300 N. Central Ave-across the street from the main Library and adjacent to Margaret Hance Park.
The spirit world beings rise from the depths of another world. A white light pierces a thick darkness and illuminates rising beings from the depths to the light. A storm is brewing in the desert and hovering above the eerie light- a spirit descends from heaven for an earthly visit.
In this piece, a spirit hovers over an abyss that is emitting a pure white light. The spirit takes on the form of the desert land and sky and embedded in an ethereal sky are clouds sent to nourish the desert but the storm contains only dry clouds… a harbinger of things to come.
Clear cast resins contrast with satin finished edges of cast resins. Exposed wood displays the character of the re-purposed wood, and new life emerges from the seemingly dead edges. Another piece inspired by my visits to Taos, NM. Healing dirt embedded in the base of the piece support the themes of healing. Elements of Earth, Wind, Fire and Light.
How do create images of the invisible? Can they be mirages? Or dreams? Or are they hallucinations? I have pondered this conundrum for some time now and somehow my artwork answers that question with memories of wilderness experiences. There is something about being absolutely alone under a big sky or vast ocean.
My latest work is much larger in scale. I use colored translucent layers of resin mixed with pearlescent & phosphorescent powders and cast onto the “live edge” of native Arizona woods. I have always consider myself a landscape painter and now entering a new phase as a sculptor. The “landscapes” created in my work are memories and images perhaps even mirages of undiscovered realms in the desert and along the shores of oceans.
LED lighting illuminates the translucent layers of resin and “charges” other layers of phosphorescent powder cast in the resin. An eerie landscape emerges as this light diffuses throughout the piece. I love how light penetrates darkness. I often muse about my work and how I prefer to see it in very dark settings. Part of that thought come from a sense of reverence that somehow light penetrating the darkness allows..I think its a primal force.
Sitting on the pieces allows me to somehow “connect” with the DNA of the piece of dead wood, now resurrected to a “new life”. feeling the wood and the resin arouses memories of time in the desert and there is something almost like reading braille when I run my fingers and hand along the highly polished and smoothed wood and resin. One such edge on one of my pieces reminds me of surfing this undulating gift from the sea, imprinted on my mind forever.
At times I feel like I’m an alchemist working late into the night casting layers of thought and creating something from “base” elements into something that somehow points to something spiritual…and that has to be God.
I experience the world created by the Creator. When I am working in my studio and creating work, I am on a spiritual journey and the right place to be in.
My deepest desire is creating work that brings forth my spiritual thoughts, it can be difficult using the mixed media that I use. My latest pieces fuses four medias; Wood-Resin-Steel & Light into a work that displays my spiritual thoughts. As difficult as it is, prayer and meditation brings things together, and helps me explain the hidden realms that God has created and allowed me to explore.
On top of the Ark of the Covenant was a lid called the mercy seat on which rested the cloud or visible symbol of the divine presence. Here God was supposed to be seated, and from this place He was supposed to dispense mercy to man when the blood of the atonement was sprinkled there. In a way, the mercy seat hid the people of God from the condemning judgment of the Law. The atonement for sin was completed once and for all with the price paid by our messiah, Jesus Christ. Our sins have been concealed as east is to the west. I am thankful for that revelation and vision and have sat on this bench experiencing this profound truth.
From a spiritual sense, surrender, restoration, mercy and healing are are the themes in my work, sometimes cleverly disguised as artwork. This work entitled “Ancient Memories”, helps me explain my own spiritual side. At the same time, memories of my spiritual journey area present; they are special times in the wilderness, often memories of surfing, fishing or diving, or my awe looking at the stars in remote places and realizing my own surrender and blessings that have followed. My inside world is right with God.
My website has more of the process of creating my pieces. The “glow” you see is phosphorescent powders mixed with resin. This is my second and what I call a lesser light. I use a Ultra Violet flashlight to excite the phosphorescent powder which glows for hours. I seem to connect with the DNA of the Alligator Juniper wood and I get a sense of layers of time. When working with the resins, I am going back and forth with the light on and lights off to see the colorization. I seem to see a somewhat eerie landscape usually I imagine places near the sea where I can hear the sound of whales migrating and hear the silence of the desert.