Weeks until next retreat
What does Paul Klee, Kandinsky and an Orthodox priest, iconographer / Moscow university physics professor have in common?
An intersection of art, science and contemplative prayer.
This is somewhat summed up in the recent compilation of Pavel Florensky’s lecture notes in the book – “AT the Crossroads of Science and Mysticism”.
All of the above identify art as a boundary that has the ability to break down universals into simplified particulars. The building blocks of what we see and ascertain as the whole, complete and therefore beautiful are construed of basic elements consisting of line, color and form. Paul Klee, in his “Pedagogical Sketchbook” defines four principles:
1. Proportionate line and structure
2. Dimension and Balance
3. Gravitational Curve
4. Kinetic and Chromatic Energy
These principles are inline with Kandinsky’s process of ‘painting music’ thereby bringing the invisible into the concrete visible realm of time and space through visual art. Pavel Florensky was a contemporary and friend of Kandinsky – documented in essays in a book titled, “Beyond Vision”. Therein lies the mystical person in this triptych of ideas re-envisioned for the era they embodied.
“Pavel Florensky has often been described as the Leonardo Da Vinci of his time…his relevance to both sciences, humanities and especially visual arts …professor in Moscow 1921-1924… established a theory of spatiality in the work of art.
-Beyond Vision pg. 30
Florensky considered the human experience of dreaming to be a symbolic threshold to the eternal or heavenly realm. His exhortation to the artist was to pull those symbols down into this temporal, concrete reality. This would be our aid to approach higher truths. Hildegard of Bingen, a 15th century German nun was a not so distant an echo of these modernists concepts. She synthesized contemplative prayer with music, theatre and visual symbolic imbued mandalas to communicate the union of micro to macro cosmic spaces unified in God.
These are my ideological inspirations- not because these ideas are new, but because they are known internally. It resonates!
So like a building constructed throughout time and epochs, I am adding my piece through creating art and teaching.
The plumb line is somewhere between what we learn to see and what we know internally…
Collectors are primarily therapists, commissions for Catholic and Anglican worship spaces in addition to art auctions benefitting hospitals and neighborhood associations. I’ve taught and written curriculum for private and public school settings along with programs for at risk youth through The Indianapolis Art Center and Art With a Heart. More recently, have enjoyed working with an art therapy studio doing process based classes called “creative spirit”. I presently teach student, adult classes and art retreats at The Art Lab and private lessons at my home studio.
Weeks until next retreat
El Greco, Rouault, Kandinski and Hundertwasser, are some masters that immediately come to mind. Within the framework of the last twenty years, Polish director Krzysztof Kieslowski, the writings of physicist and Russian Orthodox priest iconographer- Pavel Florensky and author , Alejandro R. Garcia-Rivera.
I am presently offering art retreats that combine lectio divina based meditation with the artistic process. Mark making and color are just means by which we can all make the invisible and internal – visible, making prayer an incarnational experience. I offer an art retreat on the Liturgy of the Hours at my home studio, and by invitation at retreat centers, churches and schools.
My spiritual history is best described as a multi-traditional Christian… I’m not alone. However it unfolds, clearly many others have taken this path. Raised Episcopalian, I had a conversion/ renewal experience in high school which resulted in my involvement in school campus inter-denominational Christian groups. Young adulthood followed suit. My husband and I found a place among a non-denominational association of churches. In my 30s it fell apart and fell short on many levels. Fresh start in tow, I wanted to better understand the universality and ancient aspects Christianity beyond a generational context. Reading the desert fathers and women mystics who were also ‘doctors’ of the church set me yearning for the beauty within the liturgy. Twelve years ago I converted to the Catholic tradition heavily influenced by Teresa of Avila’, Henri Nouwen and biblical scholar and convert from Calvinism, Scott Hahn.
The risk of not knowing the outcome. Loss of control. Most of my work, in terms of process or content, has come from some extremely raw places. I experientially work it out, spontaneously using materials I’ve never worked with in ways I’ve never seen with the sole need to see it though.
Not much. The creative and spiritual aspects of my being are fused. I get more response than reaction to the work from people who tend to resonate with it in some way. My work is not for the purpose of proselytizing, but rather is a process for working out spiritual and psychological inclinations and struggles.