The ‘Lady of the Cave’ at Niaux Grotto, France

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On a recent visit to France, I visited one of the last prehistoric caves sites open to the public where one can see authentic paintings from the paleolithic era. The Niaux Grotto is located in the northern foothills of the Pyrenees, just south of the French town of Foix. I made us a reservation months in advance for 1:30 in the afternoon – enough time, I thought, to drive from the small village of Sauve. We booked a rental car and set off – GPS said 3 1/2 hours to get there. It took 4 hours and we barely made our tour! Driving in a foreign country, sometimes on small windy roads, not knowing where we were going or if we would make it on time, added to a slightly stressful adventure.

But we did make it (at 1:15) and it was worth the stress! Like my traveling companion said, this was a once in a lifetime experience. (Actually, this was my third cave visit (See my blogs), but equally exciting. Ofcourse, no photography was allowed and veryone was given a flashlight to maneuver the unlit cave.

Once inside the cathedral like space, I felt a serenity and a connection to the ancients who walked this space 15,000years before us. On the left, a figure of a woman (not a painting- a spirit) greeted me. (This is not in the guide books, folks!) She was there to the left outlined in the gold and white granite rock. I pointed her out to my friend and she saw her as well. This sign of the sacred feminine spoke to me and let her presence known. Perhaps she created some of these drawings and wanted me to know it. Thats my story and Im sticking to it!

‘Lady of the Cave III”, Monoprint, 10″ x 8″
‘Lady of the Cave II’, Monoprint, 10″ x 8″

As we moved further into the cave, our guide pointed out the beautiful drawings made with black carbon – horses, bison, mountain goat, ibis etc. There was often a layering of images – implying motion and one could tell many hands created these images over time. One never knows what will inspire the artist – in my case it was something even more mysterious and ethereal than the ancient cave drawings themselves. It was the spirit of the cave and perhaps a whisper in my ear…

Breaking Through the Boundaries of Patriarchy for CrossingBorders Exhibition

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“Retablo for the Sacred Feminine”, oil on canvas with gold leaf & wood, 25.5″ x 18″

I’m honored to be participating in The CrossingBorders exhibition in Ghent, Belgium, August 31 thru September 15, a group exhibition of artists from the Global Art Project (GAP). We were invited to create an artwork that reflects a border or boundary and what it means to cross it – (political issues, globalisation, (im)migration, climate change, gender, race, culture, religious racism, terrorism, genocide, war, misogynist behavior, feelings of fear or superiority etc.)

I chose to use a retablo format and focus on how women have been marginalized, tortured, terrorized, and abused for thousands of years in the name of religion. Through time, matriarchy was erased from memory as myths were appropriated and symbols were stolen. With this votive, a prayer is lifted for women to break through patriarchal boundaries around the world and share the bounty of the planet equally and peacefully with men.

Traditionally, retablos were a votive offering in the form of a religious painting with a solemn request or a show of gratitude for a miracle. They were specifically important in Mexican folk religion in the 19th century where workshops would paint a favored scenario on a piece of tin or wood and write a request to God at the bottom of the image.

Using this retablo format as the basis for my piece, I chose to focus on Mary as she represents the divine feminine in the Catholic Church. For many indigenous cultures who were forced into the religion of the Opressor, Mary is a symbol for their goddess from ancient times.

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Traditional Mexican-style retablo

In “Retablo for the Sacred Feminine,” Mary is crowned in all her glory with a golden halo and a hint of angels wings behind her. She is truly Divine. Her breasts are bared, challenging the status quo and breaking through the shame that the Church imposed on her body. One hand open signifies her love and caring for all humanity and the other, a tight fist, represents her anger for the suppression of women and her readiness for their defense. Incorporating the spiral and the lozenge design at the top, symbols of renewal and fertility from the Neolithic goddess culture, signifies her role as life-giver.

The CrossingBorders exhibition will take place at the Sint-Amanduskapel – Campo-Santo – Visitatiestraat 2 – 9040 Sint-Amandsberg – Ghent – Belgium. It is organized for Global Art Project GAP by 10dence and curated by Ron Weijers and Carl Heyward.

Book Review for my new book, ‘Symbols of the Spirit’ by Dianne Hofner Saphiere

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Book Review—Symbols of the Spirit: A Meditative Journey Through Art
By Glen Rogers, ©2019 Luna Arte Contemporáneo
Paperback, 104 pages, US$30 or 500 pesos plus US$5 shipping from glen@glenrogersart.com

You will want to savor your time with this gorgeous volume created with love and wisdom by very talented printmaker, painter and sculptor, Glen Rogers. The book is filled with Glen’s beautiful artwork expertly laid out and printed in rich colors, accompanied by short text and guided meditation.

Glen’s work has long been grounded in archetypal imagery—metaphysical symbols from the collective unconscious. As a young feminist artist, Marija Gimbutas’ insights in The Language of the Goddess spurred Glen to walk in the footsteps of early goddess cultures. Over the next several decades Glen made spiritual and artistic pilgrimages to sacred sites around the world. On these journeys and in her art and life in between, Glen discovered and nurtured an internal resonance with sacred archetypal symbols, which then became a focus of her work. When she began authoring this latest volume, she set out to write a book about two of her favorite symbols: the bird and the lotus. Once she began, however, she quickly realized there were eight key symbols that appear again and again throughout her body of work.

In Symbols of the Spirit Glen writes a two-page essay on each of these eight symbols that have imbued such meaning and beauty into her art and daily life: the bird, circle, lotus, moon, seed, spiral, vessel and vesica piscis. She covers the symbols’ historic use and meaning as well as how they came to speak to her personally. Glen includes a short meditation or experiential activity inviting the reader to connect with the energetic properties of each of the symbols: to “experience it with your heart and allow the images to become part of your visual and spiritual vocabulary.” Click on any photo to enlarge it or view a slideshow.

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book page the lotus sm
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The effect is one of pure joy and thoughtful contemplation. If you are looking for reading that nurtures the spirit, the heart, one’s creativity and authenticity, you will find it here. Merely touching the rich pages deepens and calms one’s breath. Keeping this book near you in your home or work space provides a quick escape from the harried world we live in.

Most Mazatlán residents have much to thank Glen for, including the First Friday Art Walks in Centro Histórico and the OMA Gallery at the airport. She owned Luna Art Gallery in Mazatlán, and currently splits her time between our city on the bay and San Miguel de Allende. Born in Mississippi, Glen holds an MFA from San Jose State University and has a long and esteemed art career. For decades she worked in public art and as a community leader. Glen has had solo exhibitions throughout the USA and Mexico plus several in Peru, and group exhibits on four continents.

Glen feels that these eight archetypal symbols offer a promise of healing and transformation, a spiritual and artistic anchor to the Sacred Feminine. She views the creation of art as meditation—a communing with a higher power. Working with ancient symbols provides a bridge to our ancestors and a heart connection to the past. Glen’s experience tells us that these symbols provide healing on a subconscious level, and that once we’ve healed ourselves we can heal the world, because archetypes allow us to go deeper inside to find new truths to the dilemmas we face individually and collectively. Do we really need reasons more powerful than these to invest our time and talent?

Glen’s record of giving back to the community and trying new things is evident in this book. Making such personal works available to everyone—artist and non-artist alike—allows us a peek into what pushes someone as amazingly talented as Glen, and in doing so inspires us to look inward as well. Meditating with Glen via these precious pages is a truly therapeutic endeavor.  Contact Glen to start enjoying your copy.

“The man who speaks with primordial images speaks with a thousand tongues.”
—Carl Jung

Visit Dianne’s blog: https://vidamaz.com about life in Mexico!

Treasures of the Pueblo

“Los Tesoros del Pueblo”, Oil on Canvas, 60 x 60cm, 2019

I was recently invited by curator Maximiliano Grego to be in a group exhibition, Poeticas del Arte Contemporaneo, in Dolores Hidalgo, Guanajuato at the Bicentenario Museo. Each artist was given a them, usually a poem to inspire their work. I was given the theme of the Otomi women (indigenous to the area) and their tradition of stamping their tortillas for fiestas and special occasions – perfect for me since I recently returned to the figure. “Los Tesoros del Pueblo” was the result. I used real stamps for the tortilla designs I had bought previously.

My artist statement:

I hold an image in my mind’s eye of women at the hearth. It’s an ancient universal vision that transcends local culture and is found in every corner of the world.  Women cooking at the heart of the home or working over a communal fire is a traditional theme. She, as giver of life, provides strength and cohesiveness to the family and the community in many ways. In ‘Los Tesoros del Pueblo’, her arms encircle an offering of sustenance and healing. In Mexico, tortillas, central to each meal, remain a treasure of the culture.

I was told that in ancient times, the Otomi were a matrilineal culture and they worshipped the moon as the highest deity.  Mother Earth was also celebrated for the bounty of her harvest. As in many cultures, it’s the women who keep the stories, the traditions and the symbols alive. The tortilla, a small round shape, patted out by hand is itself an archetype – the circle, a symbol of wholeness and universality.

The Otomi women embellish their tortillas with designs using sacred imagery. Each family has its own seal carved out of wood from the mesquite tree and the dark purple dye from the muicle plant is used to stamp the images. These circular woodcut designs are passed down from generation to generation and used to print the tortillas for special celebrations and fiestas. It is a testament to the Otomi women that this ritual remains alive to honor the ancestors and preserve ancient traditions.

As an artist, I take my inspiration from symbols and artefacts that honor women and the divine feminine from cultures around the world. My two books document these influences on my art: Art & Sacred Sites: Connecting with Spirit of Place and Symbols of the Spirit: A Meditative Journey Through Art.

‘Her Story’ – A return to the figure with new paintings and prints

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Glen Rogers – New Works – Opening at Galeria Espiral, Fabrica Aurora, San Miguel de Allende Saturday April 6, 5-7pm and for the month of April

With these new paintings and prints, I honor women and the sacred feminine . With each new life passage, she has a desire to be heard and respected.  Women share an inherent strength to face challenges in the present, demons from the past, and uncertain futures. In Her Story and Black Madonna, mothers, sisters, and daughters display the power of the feminine. While they radiate independence, they also acknowledge the arbitrary barriers and obstacles that women often encounter. These women stand at the threshold of their lives and hold a shared wisdom as divine creators.

“HerStory – Facing the Past”, oil on panel, 24″ x 20″, 2018

The return to the figure began in September when I went to Morocco for an artist residency. I planned on pursuing symbols inspired by Moorish design but something shifted, as often happens when I travel and create in a new locale. To my surprise, the figure reappeared – this time in the form of Islamic women in their head dresses and jallabas – with a series of prints, Anonymous in Morocco. (Read my blog on Morocco here: https://wordpress.com/block-editor/post/artandsacredsites.com/1626). This new direction was not a conscious choice – yet these figures showed themselves and transformed my imagery to figurative after more than 25 years of working symbolically.

Her Story I, Monoprint, 22 x 14″, 2019

Black Madonna, monoprint, 7″ x 5″, 2019

Contact me for prices or more information: glen@glenrogersart.com

Symbols of the Spirit: A Meditative Journey Through Art

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I’m happy to present my recently published book, “Symbols of the Spirit: A Meditative Journey Through Art” . 

Cover of Symbols of the Spirit

Cover of Symbols of the Spirit

On the back cover: Glen takes us on a journey to explore eight iconic symbols that appear universally in early civilizations. She introduces archetypes—the bird, the circle, the lotus, the moon, the seed, the spiral, the vessel, and the vesica piscis—delving into both their meanings and their metaphors. She believes all are connected to the spiritual realm and have an undeniable link to the Sacred Feminine. Glen engages us with her unique style of art to illustrate each chapter and shares her personal stories and inspiration.

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Excerpt from the Forward by Janet Blaser:

Through research, intuition and a deep sense of creativity and interconnectedness, the author explains with words and visual images how these symbols with their hidden messages can enrich our daily lives and anchor us firmly on our spiritual path.

Carl G. Jung in his book, Man and His Symbols, referred to certain symbols as archetypal—images that all of us can tap into through our unconscious mind, dream states and the creative process. For the last 25 years, Glen’s artwork in abstract symbolism has attempted to capture the essence of such imagery. While in her previous book, Art & Sacred Sites: Connecting with Spirit of Place, she described her pilgrimages to sacred sites around the world as inspiration for her art, in Symbols of the Spirit, she focuses on the symbol.

book page the lotus

In these pages, Glen explains her intimate, personal encounters with the energies of these symbols, and how they’ve been a bridge to a more spiritual and connected life for her. She then goes one step further to share with the reader a meditation on each of the eight symbols, so they, too, can connect with these energies. It’s a powerful formula, backed by Glen’s years of exploration and experience, and a unique opportunity to enter a perhaps previously unthought-of spiritual territory.

While one could – as I did, for so long – look at her prints and paintings merely as beautiful works of art, there’s a deeper level of connection and meaning to be found. To paraphrase Glen’s words, I urge you to experience this book “from the heart, not the head,” and allow the images and meditations to become a part of your visual and spiritual vocabulary too.

 

Designed by Margery Cantor in collaboration with the artist. 104 pages, 9″ x 9″, soft cover, full color images, printed in Mexico City, $25usd.  Add this book to your own collection or give to that special friend as a gift!    

To order, contact me at: glen@glenrogersart.com

 

 

 

 

Monotype Printing – A Passion for Ink on Paper

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ink palette

Monotype printing (or monoprint) is characterized by playfulness, spontaneity, and a sense of discovery that draws you into the creative process. It’s been a go-to method for the likes of Matisse, Picasso, Klee & Diebenkorn – each pursuing techniques that would suit his own style. No matter who the artist, there is that ‘Ta-Dah’ moment – the magic that happens when you run your plate and paper through the press and reveal the fresh print.

Monotype is a printmaking process used to create one-of-a-kind images with ink on paper. Often referred to as the “painterly print,” a monotype is a painted plate versus an etching or lithograph whose image is chemically etched or scratched into the surface. There is a simplicity that attracts the artist, yet the final piece can be quite complex. It is an accessible medium for beginners but challenging and rewarding for a professional artist.

Pam at the press cropped

Monotype Print Workshop in Lima, Peru

In my workshops, I introduce a variety of techniques – additive, subtractive, collage, photo transfer, stencil, etc. – then allow everyone to experiment and follow their creative path. The artist applies ink to an acrylic plate with brushes, brayers, and textural elements, then the adding and subtracting of the ink begins. Once your image is ready to print, damp paper is placed over the plate and both are run thru the etching press, transferring image to paper.  This is not a class where everyone’s work looks the same, and I am always pleasantly surprised by the amazing variety of works produced.

Celeste printing

Monotype Printing in my San Miguel de Allende studio

You can create a finished print with one run thru the press – or you can add multiple layers of ink, building up additional color and information. Although I encourage students to come with an idea to start, the best result comes with the willingness to allow the image to evolve. The work can range from abstract to figurative, and from very colorful to a rich black and white. For artists, like painters or sculptors, whose work is time intensive, creating monotypes offers instant gratification and some beautiful work to add to their portfolio.

Marianne & Lorraine

Artists working in my Mazatlan, MX studio

I have always loved the printmaking studio ­– a communal space where artists create and share. And ever since my first introduction in college, I have had a passion for ink and paper. After I moved from California to Mexico, I began teaching workshops in my Mazatlán studio, then offered Art Vacation/Print Workshops in Oaxaca, Guanajuato, and Lima, Peru.  I now teach workshops out of my studio in San Miguel de Allende and offer Monday night print sessions to those with previous experience as a way to continue using the press.

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Glen at the press

For more information on workshops and to see my monotype prints: www.glenrogersart.com

 

 

 

 

Morocco – An Artist Residency To Remember

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In September I did a two week artist residency at Green Olive Arts in Tetouan, northern Morocco.  It is a beautiful city with a definite Spainish influence and pedestrian streets easy to manuever. I stayed at Riad Reducto, a lovely traditional hotel tucked away just inside the old medina. Walking thru the medina, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was a constant pleasure and was filled with beautiful handcrafts as well as vegetable stands, (lots of cats!) and everything for the locals. I didn’t expect to feel so at ease there but everyone was friendly and helpful.

I wasn’t sure what to expect as to the traditions of this Islamic nation – for example – if I would feel compelled to cover my head and dress more conservatively.  But I found that my usual jeans, t-shirts and sweaters were not only accepted but were the common attire for many of the younger set. The one thing I did find unnerving (and rather irritating) – the pedestrian streets were lined with cafes – just for men. In fact, it was hard to find places where women were welcome to have coffee or dine besides our hotel restaurant – which luckily was quite wonderful.

At Green Olive, I had a shared studio with plenty of light, a large worktable and a small etching press at my disposal. I chose to visit Morocco because I was intrigued by Moorish design, the textiles, the colors, the crafts, etc.  I had some ideas of what I would work on in the studio, but that totally changed once I got there. I’ve done a number of artist residencies over the years, and I always find that something shifts in my artwork – whether it’s the use of color, the change in imagery, or new inspiration from the surroundings. When you are working in a new environment, you can’t predict how you will be influenced and the work you produce. I love that!

 

Archetypal symbols have been the main focus of my work for the past twenty-five years so it was a surprise to me that my work shifted to the figure while there. As a woman artist brought up in the Western World (and a feminist), I couldn’t help but be affected by seeing the Islamic women covering their heads and bodies with scarves and djellabas (like caftans).  There was a certain anonymity created that intrigued me. I held no judgement, but rather a curiosity about my Moroccan sisters. Working at the etching press, a series of monotype prints (one of a kind images) entitled Anonymous in Morocco evolved.

I also created an artist book – inspired by the sacred geometry, symbols, and decorative arts in Morocco. I collaborated with a local leather maestro to create the leather covers. The finishing touch was to write inspirational sayings and quotes that are dear to me. This book will be a lasting momento of my time in Morocco.

The staff at GOA were all very accommodating and helpful. Rachel, one of the directors, took us on a tour of the School of Art & Design where young people were being taught traditional techniques of Islamic architecture & design; wood, plaster, textiles, embroidery, wood inlay, metal work, leather, etc. It was wonderful to see these traditional crafts in the making and to know that they will continue with the next generation.

I also offered a free monotype workshop to local artists with the blessing of the GOA staff.  It was fun to share my processes and passion for printing – and make new friends at the same time.

Part of going to an Artist Residency is meeting other artists and learning about their lives and processes.  My friend Jan Davis from San Miguel traveled with me, and was there working on her stories about previous experiences in Morocco as well as prints and textile work. Scott Ponemone did large-scale watercolors of Moroccan locals. Holly Woodward created artist books with her creative style calligraphy. Sara Gross, a ceramic artist, was about to begin as we were leaving. We also met local artists who, although we didn’t always share a common language, we did share a love of art.

Inspired by The Lotus – A Symbol of Renewal

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Golden Lotus Triptych

“Golden Lotus”, triptych, 17 ¾” x 41”, Oil on panel with gold leaf, , 2018

Some say the origin of all art is spiritual; it was a way for early humans to commune with a higher and unseen power through mark-making.  Many ancient cultures embraced the lotus as a powerful image and spiritual symbol. The Egyptians used it in their art and architecture to symbolize rebirth and regeneration. They considered it a sacred flower and used it in rituals, ceremonies and medicines for its restorative qualities. In the Kamasutra, an ancient Hindu text about human sexuality, the lotus is a symbol of the source from which all life arises.

My spiritual journey has coincided with my infatuation with the lotus. It was in Bali that I first saw the pink lotus in its full glory—the most sacred color of the lotus flowers. Floating on a small pond, the lotus blossoms in various stages of unfolding captured my heart. This had a profound effect on me, as if I was seeing the Buddha himself reincarnated. In both Buddhism and Hinduism, the lotus is a sacred flower and refers to spiritual awakening and purity of heart. It’s the cycle of the lotus that provides the metaphor for rebirth—with the bud emerging from muddy waters each morning and gradually opening with perfectly clean petals. Each lotus bud represents potential, and with the fully formed blossom comes Nirvana. In my meditations, the image of the lotus unfolding is my heart opening to Spirit.

Golden Lotus

Golden Lotus, 42” x 53”, Monotype, 2013

The image of the lotus continues to be popular in our contemporary culture. Graphic logos offering tranquility and peace can be found on candles, yoga mats and clothing. The simplicity of form and power of idea elicits a universal message.

Incorporating the lotus into my artwork is meant as a spiritual metaphor, not just the image of a beautiful flower. Using simple graphic strokes, I try to capture the hidden aura of the plant and reveal an ethereal side of nature. Carl G. Jung said that the symbol (any symbol) is the psychological mechanism for transforming energy. Through this simple form, I attempt to transform a blank canvas into something mystical, giving the viewer a spiritual connection through my art.

Allegory of the Spirit

Allegory of the Spirit, 56” x 56”, Oil on canvas, 2016

Jung in his book, Man and His Symbols, referred to certain symbols as archetypal—images that all of us can tap into through our unconscious mind, dream states and the creative process. He believed that “the greatest and best thoughts of man shape themselves upon primordial images,” and that archetypes—symbols from the collective unconscious – are metaphysical in nature. On my travels to sacred sites around the world, I learned firsthand that there truly is a universal visual language that connects us all.

Floating Lotus I

Floating Lotus I, 27” x 27”, Oil on canvas with gold leaf, 2015, Collection of Dana Amarisa

This text is an excerpt from my upcoming book, Symbols of the Spirit: A Meditative Journey Through Art due to be published in January.

Contact me at: glen@glenrogersart.com to reserve your copy.

The Vessel, The Chalice, The Cauldron An ode to the Divine Feminine

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The Chalice

The Chalice, Oil on Canvas, 40″ x 34″

The vessel, a simple utilitarian object, is layeredwith metaphorical meaning.  At its essence, the vessel is a symbol for the human body – specifically the female body, which carries and nurtures the child within. Mimicking a pregnant woman, the vessel bulges out at the center into a curvilinear shape. In pagan societies, the cauldron was a symbol for the womb of the Great Goddess and offered the power of rebirth.

The famous Chalice, some scholars believe, was actually Mary Magdalene, the sacred vessel that held the Christ child. According to Barbara G. Walker in her book, The Crone: Woman of Age, Wisdom, and Power, the vessel was the source of life, wisdom and inspiration in pagan religions. At its most primal level, it is a sacred container that will forever be connected with magic and the act of creation.

Even the simplest hand-made pot can transcend the ordinary and reflect the spirit of those who came before us. I gather these images around me and draw from them in the studio. The shape emerges and becomes the focal point of a painting or print often filled with a liquid golden light signifying its sacred nature.

Excerpts from my upcoming book, Symbols of the Spirit, A Meditative Journey Through Art.

www.glenrogersart.com