Painting and the World


    Roger Lipsey wrote in An Art of Our Own: The Spiritual in Twentieth Century Art, that “If art matters at all, it will shed light on something more than itself.” Lipsey’s words ring true for what I consider to be the foundation and main goal of my practice, which is fundamentally the cultivation of a spiritual practice through painting. I believe painting is a process of inquiry and reflection and that a critical and disciplined practice does, or at least attempts to, move beyond being aesthetically pleasing. Additionally, I think art is most powerful when it lays bare the disposition of the artist and shows the poetic nature of the mind making sense of the world- in other words, finding its radiance. Such radiance highlights the undercurrent of our sentient lives, the search for meaning, by re-presenting images of the known world in such a way as to suggest a felt yet unseen dimension. World renowned mythologist, Joseph Campbell, when lecturing on the Imagery of Rebirth Yoga spoke of this kind of radiance, calling it…

    …the revealing power, the power that is said to be in art. When, through the forms we experience the radiance…But when in art, the radiance is experienced and the fascination of the art object is that of discovering your own true radiance. Because there is only one true radiance, and that is the radiance of full consciousness. Then you have the awakening and the opening of the lead, so to say, to full realization. (Lecture 1.2.4 Imagery of Rebirth Yoga- The Seventh Cakra: Transcending Maya) 

    This radiance of consciousness is a kind of transformative experienced in relation to the artwork. The artwork is a pointer, an opener of worlds, allowing each viewer the opportunity and possibility to move towards those worlds. This radiance is experienced on a premise of faith that the artwork functions this way and is not merely decorative. By re-presenting images of the known world, art places in front of us a new way to encounter ourselves thus providing a kind of experience not readily accessible in the world. The artwork, then, is a vehicle which encapsulates the ineffability of both existence and essence. Art’s broader relationship to the world, at least for me, is one which deepens the quality of our mental lives. 

    With my exhibition Light of the World, I have tried to deepen my understanding of this special relationship through painting. It is the way I examine my place in the world and where I return to seek out a truthful resonance in the face of uncertainty that permeates existence. If the goal of my artistic practice is to cultivate a spiritual practice, then the act of painting is a way to locate myself in relation to this felt radiance. And in doing so, a rootedness in being has room to develop.