Fingerprints of the Soul

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This series of work embodies a holistic paradigm incorporating the notion of interconnectedness and an understanding of the organic and unified character of the universe.  The work is about bringing the inner and the outer or subjective and objective worlds closer together, moving beyond the objectifying consciousness of the Enlightenment, in a way that allows a return of the soul. I am trying to visually explore the notion of past and present memory and knowing.  In a fashion the works are symbolic memory maps of childhood and genetic heritage… however, the Buddhists believe we leave fingerprints on our souls as reminders for future lives.

Encoded within our genetic structure, our DNA, perhaps there are strands containing engrams of memories, both ancient and ancestral.  The idea that we are not born tableau erasa but rather with certain knowledge, a priori has intrigued philosophers and scientists from Plato to Jung and more recently Dawkins. A whole host of academicians have pondered, studied and debated this issue for centuries to no real conclusion and have coined terms such as “universal ideas,” “elementary ideas,” “archetypes of the collective unconscious,” or “the selfish gene,” just to name a few.

Fingerprints of the Soul visually explores the notion of past and present memory and knowing.  In a fashion the works are symbolic memory maps of childhood and genetic heritage, incorporating engrams, symbols, signs, and memes. However, the Buddhists believe that we leave fingerprints on our souls as reminders for future lives.  I find it interesting that upon contact with an object, smell, landscape or symbol we can be catapulted to another place or time in a split second and sometimes have a complete memory of the people, places and events.  Out of memory comes art and for hundreds of years artists have experienced such events, resulting in novels, paintings and plays.  Perhaps this notion is not so far fetched; after all just think back to the pantheon of Greek gods and goddesses. Mnemosyne, goddess of memory was the daughter of heaven (Uranus) and earth (Gaea) and the mother of the nine Muses who became goddesses of the various arts.

As I work, I often experiment with unusual materials and use traditional art mediums in unconventional ways.  As such, I spend a good deal of time in the local hardware store searching for a variety of everyday materials that are typically used for other purposes.  Drywall spackling just happens to be one of the more intriguing materials, having the characteristics of childhood play dough, cake frosting and clay.  The resulting works, sculpturally textural reliefs on wood panels are primitive and aboriginal, yet contemporary arising from the subconscious, the imagination, and the soul.

Through my exploration of the notion of genetics, memory and culture, I turned to the work of Joseph Campbell.  Agreeing with many of his assessments, I have taken the liberty to paraphrase some of the ideas relating to this body of work. “Although there are striking differences among such diverse thought systems as those of the ancient Egyptians, American Indians, Hindu and aborigines, they share the conviction that there is no sharp line dividing the ‘in here’ space of imagination and the ‘out there’ space of objective reality.  It is only in our century that Modern Western Society has rejected this notion and continues to do so while many in science, philosophy and art have begun to move closer to this point of view.  Western development has seen a loss of a sense of the divine side of life, a loss of the power of imagination, a loss of myth, dreams and vision.  The magical, mythological and feminine modes have been unacceptable to our rational patriarchal consciousness, which believes only in surface reality.  For the past 2500 years, our western thought processes concerning space and time have been dominated by Euclidian spatial theories and Aristotelian linear time.  Artist and poet William Blake believed that every act of the imagination, every union of existence and perception is a time and space complex. Albert Einstein’s proposal of his Special Theory of Relativity and later General Theory of Relativity enabled us to rethink or reshape our understanding of the universe and our place in it.  If we accept these concepts, we have to accept that subjective time with its emphasis on the now has no objective meaning…the distinction between past, present, future is only an illusion, however persistent.”   ■ 

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THE SANCTUARY: media triptych, 23″x 40.5″

 

FLOATING THE GREEN RIVER: mixed media, 8″x 8″

 

THE SANCTUARY: media triptych, 23″x 40.5″

 

STARS FELL ON ALABAMA: mixed media diptych , 16″x 28″