Solo Exhibition at La Huipilista Artspace, San Miguel de Allende. December 2021.
In this exhibition, I honor women and the sacred feminine in my paintings, monoprints and drawings. These figurative works radiate independence, as they acknowledge the arbitrary barriers and obstacles that women encounter in their lives. In this visionary world, women hold a shared wisdom as divine creators and through ritual, reclaim ancient rites of passage. Disparaged figures from the Bible like Lilith and Mary Magdalene take their power back while the Celtic-based goddess imagery of Maiden, Mother, Crone comes alive in a mural sized charcoal drawing. Calling on the mystery of the moon to use their magic, they commune with birds and snakes and such – symbols of the ancient goddesses.
In my early work as an artist, I portrayed the female figure from a feminist perspective – in all her strength and sensuality. However, in graduate school, the female nude was seen as objectifying women and became off-limits as subject matter. At that point, my work shifted to a symbolic approach as I began discovering early Matriarchal cultures where priestesses ruled. I began taking pilgrimages to sites such as Newgrange in Ireland and Knossos in Crete, studying artifacts and symbols. My symbolic abstraction of the divine feminine can be seen in my books,Art & Sacred Sites: Connecting with Spirit of Place, and Symbols of the Spirit: A Meditative Journey Through Art.
The return to the figure in my art began while working at an artist residency in Morocco a couple of years ago. Now combining both the figure and symbols on paper and canvas, my visual vocabulary tells a story of women in their power.
In May, I drove up to the Southwest United States from Mexico (where I live) with a couple of friends. My main reason was to deliver some of my Spirit Card oracle decks and latest book, Symbols of the Spirit to bookstores along the way. I’d also been wanting to visit a dear friend who lives in Sedona. But ofcourse seeing the beautiful desert landscape after being cooped up during the pandemic was a definite plus. We also looked forward to visiting friends and family who hosted us on the trip. (We had our vaccinations and followed Covid Protocol like mask wearing and social distancing wherever we went.)
Our itinerary followed a loop around the Southwest with stops in Tubac, Tucson, Phoenix/Scottsdale, Sedona, the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Santa Fe, Taos, Ghost Ranch/Abiquiu, Albuquerque and back thru Tucson to the Nogales Border. It was a whirlwind 2 1/2 week trip with amazing landscapes. And with this agenda, we were also able to see lots of art galleries, meet with artists and visit some private studios, something that we were also interested in.
Visiting Sedona was a high point in terms of incredible landscape and spiritual essence of place. I had only visited once before in the early 1990’s and had an incredible experience. Sedona is known for it’s Vortexes, special centers of energy that connect you to Gaia, Mother Earth. Places to sit and meditate, feel the energy, and go deeper within yourself – a place to recharge. We visited a number of these Vortex sites; Airport Mesa, Bell Rock and Crescent Moon Park. The latter of the two were the ones I really connected with.
Crescent Moon had a shaded path besides a babbling creek – gorgeous and serene. But I was pulled towards a field just to the left -there I could see the towering formation of Cathedral Rock as well as hear the water nearby. As I laid on the ground my hand found a small triangular rock with a hole in the center, to me – a power symbol. With that in one hand and my crystal in the other, I did a grounding meditation, sending my roots deep into Mother Earth. Sitting up again, I immediately saw the Priestess in the rock formation. She was in profile in her throne and facing an American Indian Chief. Here were the protectors of this Sacred Land – the Divine Feminine and the Spirit Keeper. (Has anyone else noticed these images??!)
The next day we visited Bell Rock where we were able to hike and climb on the undulating red stone. Such feminine, curving shapes like the Great Mother herself! I pulled off from my companions to find my meditation spot, where I could commune with the Spirit of Place. I left feeling blessed that once again, I had the opportunity to feel her energy. Often when I visit a sacred site, I return to my studio newly inspired. Let’s see where this journey will lead me…
And yes, on my trip, I successfully consigned my books and Spirit Cards to:
Changing Hands Bookstore in Phoenix
Sedona Creative Life Center
Garcia Street Books in Santa Fe
Please visit the shops and check them out if you’re in the area.
Bernie enjoying some ancient feminine healing energy!
Congressman Bernie Sanders has become quite a sensation! His meme sitting with mittens at the Inauguration has reached viral proportions. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to sit him down on my “Throne for a Goddess” sculpture recently installed at Kunstpark st. Ruprecht/Raab, Austria (read about my sculpture in this post). And he looks so great there!
There are a number of sites where you can access the meme, but thanks to https://www.kapwing.com/meme-templates, I was able to easily cut and paste Bernie into my setting. Although this started as a fun poke at Bernie, the now Chairman of the powerful Senate Budget Committee, has run with the meme and put it on sweatshirts for sale, with all proceeds going to Meals on Wheels Vermont. You can purchase yours at BernieSanders.com.
The Priestess archetype from the Tarot is a card we need to call on now, in these unstable times. She signifies both strength and softness, a balance of Ying & Yang energies. She is the messenger and uses her intuition and self-trust to do what’s best. She holds the scroll of wisdom, poised for change and a coming into unity. The spirals on her skirt indicate renewal and regeneration towards a healthy change for Mother Earth.
At this moment in time, we need the wisdom of Divine Feminine to guide us through the labyrinth of government to ensure enlightenment on the other side. Nancy Pelosi fills those shoes as the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. She embodies the Priestess archetype, standing her ground for justice. May she be strong and resilient and gather support from both aisles of the political parties to do what needs to be done.
Let their heads roll at her feet! It’s a time for unity – but not a time to gloss over the crimes directed at our democracy. Unity comes after Impeachment. May this modern day Priestess and her cohorts do what needs to be done to create a peaceful transition for the Biden and Harris administration.
Sometimes you create a piece of art because of the materials you have available to you. This is especially true during the Covid-19 lock down. I had this beautiful large sheet of amate paper, a hand-made paper made in a village near Puebla, Mexico, rolled up in a corner and nearly forgotten. I bought the paper for the size, 45″ x 97″ – finding paper that size isn’t easy – so you grab it when you can. But the sheer beauty of it also attracted me. I bought a couple of sheets from the maker who was traveling through Mazatlan a number of years ago.
In June, I unfurled and tacked the huge paper up on my sheetrock wall in my studio (in San Miguel de Allende) not knowing what I was going to do – without a plan. That’s my normal modus operandi: show up at the page and see what happens. I’d thought I might cut it into 3 pieces after I got started. And since I’ve been working figuratively, I began in the center – sketching in a rough figure with charcoal.
I love working with charcoal, although it is very messy. It’s a very sensual medium, one you have to get your hands into. A push/pull of black and white, adding and subtracting, making marks and erasing. Smearing, rubbing, softening with fingers, rags, and erasures. As the figures took form, the symbols began to emerge from the page as well – the moon, the circle, the bird, wings, the spiral, the ouroboros (snake), and flowers.
I began to see the power in the full size paper – no way was I going to cut it into three pieces! It won’t be easy to frame or exhibit, but art is not practical and we don’t make practical choices in the studio.
As the figures emerged, a story developed and The Sacred Feminine Trilogy came to life. On the left is ‘Strength’ – a young woman turns towards center one hand in a fist, in defiance – “a don’t mess with me stance”. A bird sits on her shoulder, another hovers nearby, possibly her Spirit Guides. In the center is ‘Spirit’ – one hand upturned to receive, the other to give back, a sacred mudra or hand gesture. She stands in front of the Full Moon, a sacred feminine symbol if there ever was one, her wings fully in place – suggesting she is a spiritual entity. The Ouroboros, the snake eating its tail, encircles the moon, an ancient symbol for renewal and the cycle of life. On the right is ‘Abundance’ – the Mother, pregnant and abundant with life. She holds white Cala lilies in front of her stomach – a symbol for fertility – and looks towards ‘Spirit‘ for guidance.
The viewer’s interpretation is as valid as the artist’s. What do you read into the Trilogy? Enjoy!
My newest public sculpture, Throne for a Goddess, installed in Austria in September, has launched a fundraiser to benefit a Mexican based non-profit organization that empowers women through education – Mujeres en Cambio (Women in Change). Visit their website to learn more about their good work.
“This project is all about empowering and honoring women – from the ancient to the present”.
Since I couldn’t be in Austria for the opening due to covid travel restrictions, I wanted to raise awareness of my newest public sculpture and offer something locally as well. To that end, I created a beautiful golden print that reflects the imagery of the sculpture and benefits young women. I partnered with the San Miguel de Allende non-profit, Mujeres en Cambio, and offered them 40% of the sales.
Mujeres en Cambio was a logical choice since they empower young women in rural communities by offering scholarships for their education. In Mexico, education is only free through the 6th grade. In 2019 the organization gave scholarships to 187 girls from 46 villages in rural San Miguel. V.P. Trish Leaven said, “these times are greatly affecting how NGO’s like ours continue to raise funds to support our young women, so offers like hers (Glen’s) are truly appreciated.”
The Throne for a Goddess commemorative print is 11.5” x 8.5” and is an archival, limited edition digital print, signed and numbered by the artist. The prints are $100USD or $2100 MXN each. Your Purchase of a Print Empowers Young Women Through Education! Purchase your print on my website:glenrogersart.com
The Seed of an Idea becomes a Reality
So how did this public sculpture come about? In September 2019, I was in Europe for a group exhibition in Ghent, Belgium called Crossing Borders. After the show, my friend and I traveled to Austria where we visited her cousins in Vienna and later her extended family in Weiz in the beautiful countryside of Styria.
Sitting around the dinner table on our first night in Vienna, I asked our hosts if there were any Neolithic Goddess sites to explore nearby. (Visiting sacred sites is a passion of mine, one that I’ve been pursuing for many years, thus my book, Art and Sacred Sites: Connecting with Spirit of Place.) To my utter surprise, they told me that the Venus of Willendorf, one of the oldest and most celebrated Paleolithic goddess sculptures, was housed in The Natural History Museum in Vienna. With a feeling of reverence and excitement, we paid her a visit the very next day! Housed in a special room with only a few other artifacts, the Venus was incased in a glass cube – all 6” of her. She was exquisitely carved in stone during the ice age, almost 30,000 years ago, and was discovered in Willendorf, lower Austria in 1908.
The Venus of Willendorf has become an icon for women everywhere, with her characteristic voluptuous shape, she is a fertility symbol honoring women as life-givers. She is an archetype that points to ancient goddess cultures and matriarchal societies. For me, this image of the Great Mother is a symbol of female empowerment, a reminder of who we are and where we came from.
Kunstpark St. Ruprecht/Raab sculpture park:
During our stay in Austria, our host took us to Weiz, and on the way, stopped to show us a new sculpture park in St. Ruprecht/Raab where he had a piece. The park which is beautifully laid out like a giant peace symbol, already had 20 to 25 sculptures by local artists. We met Wolfgang Neffe, the initiator of the park and shortly after, I made a proposal. I wanted to honor the Venus of Willendorf, this Austrian artifact that symbolizes the Sacred Feminine – the primary motivation for my art for many years.
The sculpture was fabricated in Austria by the Binder Company where I worked closely with Jitka Derler, an artist herself. Jitka totally related to the goddess imagery that was the basis for the work and we worked well together inspite of our language barrier and the physical distance between us. Throne for a Goddess was installed at Kunstpark St. Ruprecht/Raab on September 9th, 2020.
Throne for a Goddess is an interactive sculpture where visitors are invited to sit and feel the energy of the Great Mother: Rest in the Warm Embrace of the Goddess, the Great Mother, the Divine Feminine. Feel Her Nurturing Love and Offer of Abundance and Prosperity. Sit in Her Lap of Fertility and Plant a Seed for your Dreams and New Beginnings.
More of my public sculpture can be seen on my website: Beacon, Campbell, CA; Three Wings, Stockton, CA; Web of Life, Chico, CA; Spirit Gate and Meditation Bench, San Jose, CA. https://www.glenrogersart.com/sculpture-
This deck of 50 oracle cards is a contemporary approach to an ancient tradition. The images were inspired by universal symbols that honor Mother Earth and the Sacred Feminine. I created the artwork, both paintings and prints, over a 30-year period.
Use these Spirit Cards as a companion on your journey of self-discovery. Open your mind, heart and spirit to the messages you receive and use them as a form of meditation and contemplation.
A boxed deck, cards are 5 3/8″ x 3 1/2″. Includes guidebook with introduction and interpretations.
Spirit Cards were conceived during the covid quarantine, a silver lining to troubling times.
Order your cards on my website: $30 usd plus shipping. Add a beautiful gold organza bag for your cards – $5.00
I made a decision a while back that I wasn’t going to post my political views on social media. Most of my friends are on the same page – so there’s no need to preach to the choir. And those who don’t share my politics, some family and friends, mainly from the past, will not be swayed by my posts and in fact may be alienated. So what’s the point? Better to focus on my art and what I consider uplifting words and images.
But there comes a moment when Silence is not the correct response. I am apalled, saddened, embarassed, and disgusted that such blatant racism is still rearing its ugly head in the U.S. That white supremacy has a choke hold on our country. That we have a president who continually encourages racism and applauds violence. This latest incident, the murder of George Floyd, is so despicable it hurts to talk about it. My heart goes out to his family and to the human race.
I was raised in Mississippi and still carry the guilt of my forefathers and mothers. I witnessed racism throughout my childhood from a privileged position and experienced the move from segregation to integration in highschool. After all this country went through in the 60’s, the pain and suffering on both sides, why is there still such rampant inequality and abuse? We are all created equally. I pray for a Martin Luther King, Jr, a ‘Jesus’, a Mother Teresa to deliver us from the mess we’ve found ourselves in. Or maybe its up to us, each one of us, as individuals.
I’ve been looking to some of our great teachers of the day for positive thoughts and hope for the future. These are totally taken out of context and pieced together like a quilt:
From Oprah: Be a Warrior of the Light. Use your gifts to illuminate the darkness in the world. Find a way to serve. Turn your wounds into wisdom.
From Deepak Chopra: With love and action, we can create a new story. What is the vision? Joy, peace, a new humanity. Don’t fight the darkness – Bring on the Light. Live a love-centered life.
From Caroline Myss: We are built for this moment. Every act of goodness counts.
The transformative lotus is an image that I’ve used in my work many times over the years. The petals unfolding never fail to soothe me, to embrace me and to help me transcend the ordinary. You can read more about the Lotus in my book, Symbols of the Spirit: A Meditative Journey Through Art. (https://www.glenrogersart.com/copy-of-books-1)
While working on the painting, I began photographing each step to document my progress. It was meant as a tool for me to study as I went along. So it literally shows how I built the painting – the layering of colors – easing my way towards completion. I hope you enjoy the sequence.
Ofcourse the title is a nod to Love in the Time of Cholera a novel by Colombian author Gabriel García Márquez. And folks, we are living it – in the here and now – a crisis pandemic in our times. So what’s an artist to do?
I feel lucky that I just received a commission for a large painting. A 3′ x 6 1/2′ canvas. A transformative lotus – an image that I’ve used in my work many times over the years. The petals unfolding never fail to soothe me, to embrace me and to help me transcend the ordinary.
From my book, Symbols of the Spirit: A Meditative Journey Through Art: 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. 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.
1. So during this time of uncertainty (and mass histeria!), I will hole-up in my studio and create.
2. I’ve also decided to amp up my spiritual practice and do my yoga and meditation every day (up until now, it was 2 or 3 times a week). But I have plenty of time – so I’m going for it!
3. Pull a Tarot card each day (Also a practice I’ve been doing once a week for many years). Yesterday I pulled 2 of Discs: Change. The only constant and it is cyclic. For the purpose of re-balancing. For revealing to us that which is knowable and that which is unfamiliar. Changes in the External reality – and Internal changes that are expansive and positive.
Today I pulled The Hanged Man: The Pattern Breaker. Somethimes it’s necessary to take a distinctly different posture to get un-stuck. Time to trust the deeper aspects of who we are.
See how these nuggets of wisdom can make us contemplate and go deeper? (These abbreviated readings from Angeles Arriens’ The Tarot Handbook).
I realize this forced social distancing and self quarantine is a hardship for many. Believe me, I’m not trying to make light of the situation we are all in. But what if we thought of our forced home stay as agift of time? How will you use your gift?