My first dream of 2017 had me sitting in a plain room with no decoration. A man walks in this room wearing a button-down shirt and sits himself across from me. He asks me “What are thoughts on the consciousness”? I started to answer him citing different levels on consciousness….
I feel as though the majority of the human race is in low level consciousness, which includes things like mass consumerism, killing, money-driven goals both from an individual and corporate level. The year of 2016 was certainly a shock and eye-opener to the reality of this mode of thinking. Eckhardt Tolle called this low level of thinking ‘unconscious’.
Perhaps 2017 will bring about a small bit of awakening from this kind of thought pattern. Wakening includes small big things like 1) we are all the same as part of a greater ‘whole’, 2) that nothing is ‘real’ as form is an illusion (scientifically this has been shown the case too), 3) spirituality at its core essence is pointing to the same source, for example 4) Buddha and Jesus was talking about the same inner experience and 5) that ‘you’ are not your thoughts, nor your body, as it part of the form or illusion. Also 6) that there is more to what meets the eye in our limited vision of experience (this one get into the preternatural area).
Well, my first post of this kind. I can presume some will disagree with my writings, but I felt this was to be shared, as I started to waken from the dream.
I have been thinking about a suitable name to call the recent artwork that I have been creating in my studio that would be appropriate from an intellectual, visual and experiential level. This name would need to be flexible and open enough to encompass a freedom of many different genres and mediums of work, yet sufficiently tight enough to distinguish it from other approach to art that may not be in alignment with its definition. And so the words ‘Abstract Universalism’ came to mind as it seemed to aptly describe the essence of my paintings.
Spirituality has always been largely a question that has been left unanswered, tending to fall more so into the philosophy of Buddhism and Taoism more so than my early childhood influences of Protestant and Christian beliefs that my Canadian friends would follow by. I belief that beauty must prevail in a work of art, and thus the elements of beauty in art must or should be present in both an intentional and subconscious way. Art to me is not purely the expression of the soul, but should contain within it a sense of transcendence. Art should not simply be the rendering of human emotion or a catalogue of conceptual ideas; it must and should illuminate both the mind and senses. The art is not immediately understood, but should evoke the past and future at the same time, thereby locking in the present moment of timelessness.
So what is Universalism? According to Wikipedia, it is a religious, theological, and philosophical concept with universal application or applicability. Universalist doctrines consider all people in their formation. Thus, universalism is grounded on the acceptance of varied belief structures that do not adhere strictly to any one religion and is encompasses different philosophical views.
Adding the word abstraction to the description then seems entirely appropriate, as much of my work is rooted in non-representation, as shown in The Vibratory Field series of artwork. The artworks are seen more like energy waves or particles, resembling in some instances, the pointillistic work of Seurat.
On another level of observation, the artworks may also have references to rolling landscapes or the sea. The titles of the artwork are loosely defined, such as ‘Travelling’ or ‘Ecstasy’ and allows the viewer to interpret at will whatever they see or feel.
Abstract Universalism’s underlying themes
– based on nature, the cosmos, energy particles, the sea, the land, the trees and nature.
– spirituality and awakening of consciousness is present as an underlying foundation to the artwork.
– artwork can contain all elements of different spiritual philosophies where there is no exclusion of beliefs.
– the artwork provide the audience with the feeling of transcendence of mind and spirit.
– idea generators may also include fractal patterns at micro and macro scales, and natural phenomenon (yet with human intervention, observation and reinterpretation)
– the artwork tends not to be sensationalised, yet may be sensational in itself.
– artworks tend to be large in scale to the human body in order to diminish the individual; the uniqueness is in the whole and sum of the parts.
– The ‘I’ has been replaced by ‘We’.
– decentralisation of man and ego; focus on humankind and non-duality.
Examples of Abstract Universalism:
The following are artists I have found where the elements and ideas behind Abstract Universalism seem to have been present within their work. It is not a definitive list.
Trance Music & VJ Graphics is another genre or art-form that I would aptly describe as containing all the key elements of Abstract Universalism ideals and concept. The music and graphics combine to bring about a heightened sense of consciousness. This state of consciousness is rarely associated with any god-like reference, but more universal in nature.
The earth and people are changing, and many artists have already lead the way. I feel this is an art movement that speaks beyond the human individual, but of a greater kind. I have read much about the science in the field of quantum physics, the exploration of space, and the spiritual teaching of Eckhart Tolle. There is a collective art that is not divided by race, gender, or geographical boundaries that is speaking to the artists. It is not limited to the visual arts, but present in selective music, installation art and performance art.
Do you have any suggestions on the development or definition of Abstract Universalism? I would like to hear from you.
For years, I have resisted the use of photoshop manipulation and layers using frequency separations to create artwork. I always felt it was the easy way out making anything look artistic, and thus, refrained from using this technique in making my work. The majority of my photographic work pertained to the traditional standards of black and white, focusing more on light, shadow, form and texture. Most recently though, I have started to introduce painting back into my staple of mediums, and using ink transfer techniques using a printer and toner to create my art. And the results have been very satisfying. But I also felt it was okay for me to do this also in the realm of computer technology, and using Photoshop to assist in the melding of photography and my acrylics. This one I feel is more successful than ‘Creation, not by chance’.
As this image is not an actual print at this time, it will come a time to actually actualize the artwork. Please let me know if you are interested in owing this; I would be happy to work something out.
A little bit more…
Someone on facebook asked me about the above image.
He asks: Is it all digital or did you actually paint over the digital print of Hes?
My reply: Mike, there are 2 elements that are combined: 1) photograph of Hes, and 2) a textured painting. I am attaching the texture painting here. I used Photoshop to combine the two layers together. I can’t remember the frequency separations now since I did several, plus I desaturated some layers.(some colors were quite intense when I layered them). Also, I did a few high passes to the images to make the edges/textures pop out more.
Below is the painting I used to combine the photograph of Hes with.
Last night I had a dream within a dream that shook me inside. I dreamt that I was photographing some event and at the end of the evening, I left my camera bag in a locker. And when I came back to retrieve the bag, the bag was missing. In it was my D700 and my ‘fat boy’ lens, the F2.8 28-70 Nikon and speedlight. I was distraught, thinking to myself of the cost of the equipment and the images. All gone. Stolen. Then, time had somehow passed within the dream itself, and I returned back to the scene of the crime. In it, I could see from within the small locker looking out to myself peering into the dark box. I didn’t feel unnerved, but felt a strange detachment from the reality of what had happened. Yes, the camera is gone; it’s not there. And I could feel my ‘mind’ start to question this reality. Time again jettisoned to present consciousness and I began to see that the camera was not stolen within this reality. And somehow I felt more at ease.
Within the dream state, there was a reality to that realm. It was not unreal, but the state in which things can happen. It is simply another state of reality, perhaps in one of the other universes that physicists are currently discovering. The string theory and multi-verse. Are dreams (essentially our minds, my mind) the very tool that we can use to channel or enter into that universe? I don’t know. What is the exact cause of dreams? We have all heard that dreams are part of our sub-conscious makeup and delves into our own thoughts about ourselves or how one perceives us. I believe there are different level of dream consciousness. One that only touch the surface, that of ego and persona. All that is what I loosely call ‘fluff’. Then I believe there are dreams that enter into a darker or shadow work, where other spirits bring you further into your consciousness. And because we don’t understand them, we fear them.
I haven’t answered any questions, but I soon realize that my dream was purely a surface fear, one of attachment to objects. In my case, the camera. Ultimately, it doesn’t affect me. It does not affect the immovable part of my being or soul, which is the untouchable part of who we are. And so my day goes on…