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.
“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.
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.
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 Goddessspurred 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.
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
“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, 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, 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, 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: firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your copy.
This is a commission that I worked on last season in Mazatlan – It’s ready to hang!
“Two in Flight”, A triptych, oil on canvas, 20″ x 60″.
A commission is always a challenge – with certain parameters such as size, colors and imagery – which of course I wouldn’t take on if it didn’t fit into my already established style. I enjoyed this one, and expect it to look fantastic in the intended home. Gracias, amiga for the opportunity! See you back in Mazatlan when we will hang your new work of art.