I went to Lima, Peru in October, where I had a solo exhibition thru November 27 as part of the Bienal Internacional de Grabado (International Biennal of Printmaking) sponsored by ICPNA ( Instituto Cultural Peruano Norteamericano). There were over 40 exhibitions as part of the Biennal over a 2 month period and represented artists from Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Spain, the U.S., Finland, France, Italy, Mexico and Peru.
In this exhibition at Galeria ICPNA San Miguel, I had the opportunity to exhibit early large-scale prints along with recent works. I created most of these prints at KALA Institute in Berkeley, California in the early 1990’s, they represent the beginning of my exploration into symbolism as my primary artistic expression. My work continues along this line, and it was gratifying to see how seamlessly the work flowed.
All of the monotype prints draw from a universal visual language of primal forms created by early cultures and inspired by nature. The circle speaks of unity, oneness, wholeness, the sun and the moon; the spiral reflects renewal, regeneration, evolution and growth; the oval or ‘vesical piscis’ is a symbol from sacred geometry that implies the womb, the seed, birth, and the beginning of life. My intent over the last 20 years has been to create work that reflects the essence of these forms that can touch us on an intuitive level.
I visit sacred sites shrouded in mystery and imbued with the spirit of the ancients for inspiration. With each pilgrimage, I am drawn to the artifacts left behind by these early societies – sculptural details carved in stone, glyphs painted on cave walls, and designs found on pottery shards. In each location, repetition is found in the form of archetypal symbols such as the circle and the spiral – universal symbols that according to Carl Jung evoke a deep and unconscious response. Early on, I was drawn to Paleolithic and Neolithic sites where images of Mother Earth, the Divine Feminine, were revered. (Among them: Newgrange in Ireland, The Temple of Knossos in Crete, and the caves in the south of France.) My more recent visits to Machu Picchu, the Nazca Lines, and Sillustani in Peru also reveal a deep reverence for nature, Spirit and the cycles of life. For me, each site represents a mystical opening, a passage to something greater than ourselves, beyond the human experience.
In the studio, bold symbols emerge from the inked plate in a somewhat stream-of-conscious manner, my head and heart filled with new material. The monotype allows me a spontaneous approach and results in a one-of-a kind image. Scratching the plate with a drypoint tool, I create a textural surface suggesting primeval walls worn down by time. A mystical and meditative quality references the ritual of sacred space while the curvilinear forms refer to the Divine Feminine. Symbols create openings that can connect us to the past and to the spiritual realm. As I work the surface of the plate and access these ancient forms and markings, I feel an affinity with those who have come before me.