Phi: Infinity, unity and beauty

Phi

Phi

Day 01 01, the start of a new circle around the sun through the space-time continuum.
“Phi [ϕ]”, spirals us to infinity beyond and within. Based on the Carina Nebula, we are brought to the inner chambers of the heart; light and energy generated millions of years ago, breaking through the shadows and darkness of outer and inner space. Painted on copper with hand-mixed paints formulated with mica, copper and other earthbound stardust.

Named after the Greek alphabet representing the mathematical golden ratio 1.618 that represents unity. Unity – oneness, nothingness and everything at once, pure beauty.

I ask that you first look at the image of my painting before reading this document. I don’t want to influence your initial impressions. I want you to experience it as I did, as a slow revelation, an unveiling.

wfibonaccispiral_painting

Golden Ratio Spiral Overlay of earlier stage painting

Fibonacci Spiral_painting_3 crosses

Fibonacci Spiral_painting_3 crosses earlier stage painting

Painting with 'Fruit of Life" overlay

Painting with ‘Fruit of Life” overlay earlier stage

 

 

 

 

As with all paintings it began simply enough, a gorgeous piece of scrap copper 8′ in length by 3′ wide. My peers suggested I cut it into smaller, more digestible pieces to create reasonably sized paintings that would sell. But I had my eye on larger things, the universe to be precise, specifically, the Carina nebula that has been imaged from the (Hubble) (spell check auto correct-Heart bible) Telescope. Because of the predominance of copper color in the nebula I felt it would be suitable to make the most out of the semi precious metal.

One cannot paint the universe without feeling the divine nature within. While pondering those age-old questions, why are we here, how are we here? The messages that I received are very personal and I am thankful to be living in a time when I won’t be persecuted for sharing my beliefs. At least for the time being I’m living in a country that holds sacred the right to religious beliefs and freedoms. I ask that you take what you please and leave the rest. I am merely sharing my experiences over the last six months, all which seem to be a part of the journey of this painting.

For many years now I have experienced a spiritual void, the root of which being that I am a woman in a man’s world and more to point, in a man’s religion. All the focus has been on the ‘male’ God, “Father” and “Son” Jesus. Even in exploring my Jewish heritage there was the “male” God. I felt abandoned, I felt coerced into a faith where there was no place for me. In talking with other females I’ve grown to understand that I am not alone in this feeling. Out of desperation I began to ask God “why?’  As a female how am I to follow a God that doesn’t represent me? After all we were all created in ‘his image’ or I suppose we females could believe that we are created from the rib of a man, the genetic mutation, the divine cloning with a kick.

As an artist with interests in science, theology and philosophy, I began to ask God for clarity. Sometimes when we ask we get answers. For me they came in symbols and signs that I tried to interpret to my human best. Over the course of several months while painting I was also immersed in quantum theory and infinity without as well as within. Nebula gases and light/energy took on shapes under the brush. One shape that took form was that of a heart. It was as if the pulse of electro-magnetic energy pumped through the heart dispersing it into arcs. At the right an arc of energy took on the shape of a dove. As I painted the heavenly body I felt the presence of spirit and God draw near while at work as well as during the course of my day to day life.

In late summer, while visiting Cape May, my mind was on the state of a dear friend’s heart as he was waiting for the results from tests, having suffered a major heart attack in previous years. I received his text about the condition of his heart while browsing in an antiques shop and viewing a painting of the Mother Mary with the Immaculate Heart. The heart had blades protruding from Mary’s chest cavity, an odd visual. Raised Congregational/Episcopalian I was not familiar with the images of the Virgin Mary other than that of her swaddling her baby.  The heart is depicted as pierced with seven wounds or swords, in homage to the seven sorrows of Mary. Also, roses or another type of flower may be wrapped around the heart. Veneration of the Heart of Mary is analogous to worship of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. There are, however, differences in this analogy as devotion to the heart of Jesus is especially directed to the “divine heart” as overflowing with love for humanity. In the devotion to Mary, however, the attraction is the love of her heart for Jesus and for God. The object of the devotion being to love God and Jesus better by uniting one’s self to Mary for this purpose and by imitating her virtues.*

I painted in the basic shapes , experimenting with colors and ways of applying the paint, including steel-wooling areas to reveal areas of copper. Then bringing in a photo of my early stages into Photoshop I began to create overlays. I set about finding the golden ratio(s) within the composition. I realized that if I put a square at either side I wound up with a near perfect golden ratio rectangle in the middle. By overlaying the spirals I found that the center of the composition became infinity, unity. In setting up a grid to follow across the center lines I realized it had created the three crosses of the crucifix. I also found that the seed of life in sacred geometry overlay the middle ‘cross’/’unity’ center.

Interesting bits of information became more cohesive on a clear October day in New York City, shortly after I had created the grid in Photoshop. It started with a text from my sister, she had found at her feet, while in church, the program from the Easter service two years prior. This was her first return to the church after we had attended the Palm Sunday service together that same year. I walked up to the Guggenheim and viewed the works of Agnes Martin, “Beauty and Truth”, whose abstract grids represent concepts. On my way back to the train I saw a sea of purple parading through Times Square, with a picture of the Crucifix held high in the air. When I asked what the parade was about I was told it’s about the miracles. The miracles are about a painting, Señor de los Milagros, painted by a slave from Angola in colonial Lima, Peru. Christ is shown enduring the pain of crucifixion. Above the cross is the Dove-Holy Spirit and God the Father. Below and to the right of Jesus is his mother, the Virgin Mary with her heart pierced by a metaphorical sword of sorrow. Kneeling and weeping at the foot of the cross is St. Mary Magdalene. Its name originated in the 17th century during an earthquake, which destroyed most of the city leaving only the painting standing. Every year in October, hundreds of thousands of devotees from all races and economic backgrounds participate in a religious procession honoring the image through the streets of Lima.*

The Holy Ghost’s symbol, a dove, is an ancient Goddess symbol, well-known in the days of early Christianity, as was the concept of Wisdom as female. The Christian doctrine of the trinity – Father, Son, and Holy Ghost – was not formalized until the 4th or 5th century C. E. yet the historical concept of a triune deity is much older than that, with evidence dating from the 7th millennium B.C.E. Even in early Christianity, this trinity had a female member, the Holy Ghost. As recorded in the scriptures of early Christians, the Gnostic scriptures, The Holy Ghost was envisioned as Sophia, the Goddess of Wisdom. Sophia The Goddess of Wisdom was also mentioned numerous times in the Old Testament. In Jewish scripture, Sophia is a feminine voice, in contrast to a God of dominion and force. Jesus, too, has a Sophia heart, not the heart of someone seeking power. Sophia is concealed but ready to reveal just as Jesus is “the hidden wisdom of God” (1 Cor. 2:7), “the revelation of the mystery kept secret for endless ages” (Rom. 16:25). Both Sophia and Jesus are brought forth by God, and both are sent by God to be special messengers to humanity, bringing wisdom, counsel, and guidance. Each is a healer and a comforter, a messenger of truth, perception, and guidance. Both are teachers who instruct in the ways of God, and both are referred to as “light.” **

In November, after a Rembrandt lecture by John Walsh, at the Yale Art Gallery, by happenstance, I was privileged to view some Rembrandt etchings without the glass obscuring any details. One etching depicted the scripture from the Easter program that my sister had found, Christ at Emmaus, Luke 24:31, “Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight.”

So is this a modern day version of the crucifixion or more akin to spirituality or perhaps just a thing of beauty, a reverence to science? Just perhaps it is all of the above. Thank you for being a part of my journey. Wishing you a year full of unity, of pure beauty!

*Information found on the Internet, Wikipedia.

** Joyce Rupp, USCatholic.org, “Desperately Seeking Sophia”