Blog #5D & #6A: Shapeshifting through Trance Induction and Story Telling

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Blog #5D & #6A: Shapeshifting through Trance Induction and Story Telling

Dream of Fossilized Oyster Found in the Desert

This week we experienced shapeshifting field-trips: Robert guided us to feel into stone-ness, Marjorie had us holding a regret as we ran our finger through water offering a subliminal catalyst for release. Carolyn spoke in the first person as the tumbled rocks and shells of the tide line at the ocean and called forth the details of that rhythm. Lainie brought us through a delightful romp as a chipmunk who dashed and looked, leaped and listened, tasted and stashed gathering nuts and savoring the squirrel’s sunflower seeds.

Blog #5D & #6A: Shapeshifting through Trance Induction and Story Telling

Unreconcilable

Lucy, surprised us with her contribution by reaching back to the bard tradition as she brought us into deep participation in her story. She began by having us crawl around on the floor moving as cats, feeling the shoulders and hips initiate the movement of the limbs. She showed a short of the French tightrope walker Philippe Petit as his feet stepped along the steel wire. Then she began the story of his participation in 1987 walking aerially over the Valley of Hell between Palestine and Israel. This dramatic portrayal, 25 meters above the roaring crowd, was an occasion when there seemed to be a possible resolution between the two states. Her presentation included a lively portrayal of a confused white dove released from a piece of silk choosing to instead of fly to freedom land on Philippe’s head then the end of his pole and then walked behind him on the wire, almost mimicking his movements. All of this ended in the dove taking flight as Phillippe reached his destination.

When one actually imaginally embodies other, the experience brings emotions, information and insights very different from thinking about something. It was from this state that we undertook our Marking bringing forward powerful images from all of the journeys.  You can get a sense of that from the markings that appear after this blog.
 

Majio
 

Click on thumbnail to see full size image. 

 

Blog #5B COLLABORATIVE EXCHANGE Lorrie Bogner and Majio

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blog #5B COLLABORATIVE EXCHANGE Lorrie Bogner and Majio

Majio’s Original Markings


blog #5B COLLABORATIVE EXCHANGE Lorrie Bogner and Majio

Lorrie’s Contributions


Blog #5B COLLABORATIVE EXCHANGE Lorrie Bogner and Majio

Majio’s Completion

This week we are taking a break from meeting in circle before we dive into shape- shifting. This gives us an opportunity to show some of the collaboration work that we have been doing between participants. The format is that someone works on a piece, diptych or triptych and then passes it to another member who works on it to be handed back to the original artist to finish it, taking notes on personal insights of process and/or content.

This adventure brings up many issues. One is completion, for it is courteous and respectful to not over-do your part. When working on another’s piece you need to stop for different reasons than usual. Lorrie and I took several weeks of looking at the piece in all stages, not to strategize but simply to take-in and trust in an authentic response. Rather than the usually slap-dash delight of random, I needed to listen intently at each stage. I carried the piece inside me during that time alert to a markings that wanted to participate in Lorrie’s piece. After Lorrie’s work, it seemed to need something very small and subtle for completion. I waited until a Xerox transfer of cobblestone caught my eye. I knew that was it. But again, I waited to see if the flirting developed into a relationship of some kind. In the end, I put it into the white space and as there was not enough of the print to fill the space, I continued with drawing to repeat the pattern with colored pastel pencils.

 

blog #5B COLLABORATIVE EXCHANGE Lorrie Bogner and Majio
I was more comfortable working on Majio’s pieces than returning to mine after Majio had worked on them. I think that I was afraid of losing what Majio had added because it felt like my pieces needed her expression in them. Very interesting interaction. Lorrie

Lorrie’s Originals

blog #5B COLLABORATIVE EXCHANGE Lorrie Bogner and Majio

It is always a delight to work on Lorrie’s pieces as they call something new forth in marks, color and subtractions. It is like toning a new muscle or listening for a here to unheard nuance. It forces me to be attentive in a new way. Majio

Majio’s Contributions

blog #5B COLLABORATIVE EXCHANGE Lorrie Bogner and Majio

All participants are doing a collaborative exchange in three parts that we will be sharing in the blogs.

Lorrie’s Completion

Majio
 

Click on thumbnail to see full size image.

Blog #4D Devotional

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This week’s exploration has had a lasting impact on most everyone’s attitude towards the marking materials, as well as a new connection to the animistic field. Our marking shifted materials as commodity to means of devotion. Devotion at first felt like an old unused word relating to organized religion, but as we explored it, we realized that we are all devoted in any number of things. We set out candles and incense to create a mood and instead of our regular materials we used organic colorants like turmeric, beet powder, tea, coffee, flowers, berries, powdery sand from the playa at Burningman and whatever that would leave a trace of pigment. We used these materials devotionally, as a means of appreciation, just as colored ochre and flower powders have been sprinkled on the ritual objects in ceremony all over the world throughout history.
Blog #4D Devotional

Devotional Marking with Colorants, on paper 18” X 24”


For some of us it was like sandpainting as we sprinkled powders over wet marks then brushing the excess way. For others, the colorants were in an ink-form. For all of us at first it was difficult not to use the colorants as art materials, to be under our control. The practice of conscious breathing supported the intention to participate in the act of honoring rather exerting our ideas, personality, ego. It was obvious to everyone that it was a different experience than making something. The theme of our work was to hold in our body the feeling of a special place that was safe, comforting and grounding. Honoring this place within us through the materials.

This is one of the podcasts that we took for inspiration from: Emerald Podcast, The Shape of Art, Place, Relevance, and the Living Force Between Adorer and Adored:

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN

In this podcast Josh Schrei infers that our experience of art has been formed fundamentally by our museums and art history format. He talks about art as the state and quality of interaction, echoing John Dewey’s stance that art is experience. Schrei maintains that art re-enforces the animate force of life as a gateway for the experience of the animate force.

From David Whyte’s book, Consolations we evoked both the sense of Maturity and Resting, which underscored the sense of selfhood. They also confirm the somatic sense of dropping into the relaxation of the moment with no goal. Our practice with marking is to hold a greater perspective through presence that includes contradictions, not knowing and risking.

Maturity is the ability to live fully and equally in multiple contexts; most especially, the ability, despite our grief and losses, to courageously inhabit the past the present and the future all at once…Maturity calls us to risk ourselves as much as immaturity, but for a bigger picture, a larger horizon, for a powerfully generous outward incarnation of our inward qualities and not for gains that make us smaller, even in the winning.

Rest is the conversation between what we love to do and how we love to be. Rest is the essence of giving and receiving; an act of remembering, imaginatively and intellectually but also psychologically and physically. To rest is to give up on the already exhausted will as the prime motivator of endeavor, with its endless outward need to reward itself through established goals. To rest is to give up on worrying and fretting…

The template of natural exchange is the breath, the autonomic giving and receiving that forms the basis and measure of life itself. We are rested when we are a living exchange between what lies inside and what lies outside, when we are an intriguing conversation between the potential that lies in our imaginations and the possibilities for making that internal image real in the world; we are rested when we let things alone and let ourselves lone…one state of rest is…the sense of slowly coming home…the template of perfection in the human imagination….

 

Click on thumbnail to see full size image. Majio
 

 

 

Blog #4A Persona/Shadow

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This week we investigate persona, our social role as the appearance one presents to the world. Personal is with what we most identify but have you ever watched yourself walk into a room through the eyes of others? When we see our persona from the outside with how others see us a new identifying shapes from how we are seen and how others respond to us. We explored marking through these personas with a couple of techniques that highlighted the object/subject split. We first did touch printing using both hands at the same time to print with our fingers and hands by touching the surface of a paper laid on an inked plate. The intention was to sense the face and body of our person, not depicting or representing but rather getting in touch with it, literally and figuratively.  One more sentence on results.

Blog #4A Persona/Shadow

cut masks for printing

Our meditation was from David Whyte, Consolations-Shadow

Shadow does not exist by itself, it is cast, by a real physical body…it is shaped by presence; presence comes a priori to our flaws and absences. To change the shape of ourselves is to change the shape of the shadow we cast… Shadow is a necessary consequence of being in a sun lit visible world, but it is not a central identity, or a power waiting to overwhelm us.

To live with our shadow is to understand how human beings live at a frontier between light and dark; and to approach the central difficulty, that there is no possibility of a lighted perfection in this life; that the attempt to create it is often the attempt to be held unaccountable…

Blog #4A Persona/Shadow

monoprints from masks

We cannot talk about persona without talking about this shadow, that aspect of ourselves that we can easily see in others but with which we do not often identify. This includes the bright shadow or that brilliant and whole part of us that is often projected onto others or into the future but which we do not embrace in the now. 

Blog #4A Persona/Shadow

Print with mask and touch marking

We used printing masks to explore the shadow self and in preparation we looked at our literal shadow projected on a wall or floor with a strong light behind us. We took photos of different attitudes and postures, especially those we usually do not show to others. From these photos we made drawings the size of the printed paper which we cut out to create a mask, an area that blocks the ink when laid on the inked plate. We went with larger shapes with no ink so we could print over or into with touch markings. Following are some of the pieces from the group’s printing of touch-marking and shadow printing.
 
 
 
 

Click on thumbnail to see full size image. Majio
 

 

 

Blog #3E Denial of Death

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Blog #3E Denial of DeathIn our adventure of challenging the current paradigm we question the man-made cultural norms that dictate our lives. More than anything else, our greatest repression is the “Denial of Death”. Pulitzer Prize winner, Ernest Becker’s book by that title maintains. Human beings spend an inordinate amount of energy strategizing to ward off recognition of our mortality. Socrates said as recorded by Plato, “the practice of dying” is a phrase that describes one aspect of how we become “morally mature.” Socrates urges us all to turn inwards and face our mortality. The Greek philosopher is among many others insisting we live with death in order to clarify our motives in life. It is surely possible that denial of death is at the bottom of our materialism, consumerism, addiction and escapism.
Blog #3E Denial of Death

Axis Mundi/Intimacy

We have been using poems by Billy Collins this month as he is an artist who plays the death card as he is coming to terms with dying, the ultimate loss, with humor. Making the life/death/life issue conscious and personal is central to other realities in life and is at the core of artist’s work, be it musician, dancer, writer or one of the artists of everyday life—chef, mother, carpenter. It also defines the different between skill and artistry. As materialists, we are used to perceiving and dealing with things like replaceable commodities, so our sense of loss seems minor in daily life. However, we all must process allowing our loss to make room to live when we feel and note loss. When not consciously felt and grieved loss becomes what Stephen Busby from Findhorn says constructs ‘the un-lived life.’

Blog #3E Denial of Death

Baba Yaga’s House

Artists in particular, on the creative edge, cannot afford to deny the exchange that is required because it will stall the process. The creative process is on the edge of the unknown willingness to risk loss. This week we incorporated two earlier participant-lead refrigerator journeys, placing them in a part of the body to access in the imaginal somatic to blend into one piece through marking. We then deconstructed that piece onto a new substrate. This was to underscore how loss of the cut-up piece became material for something new. Despite the initial discomfort, everyone enjoyed the freedom of not knowing what was happening. Several of the re-worked pieces found a deeper resonance with more revealing content.

The first image above draws on two Refrigerator Field trips-one that brought me to Axis Mundi and the other to Intimacy.  These were cut-up and reconstructed. Out of the ashes arose the image that reminded me of Baba Yaga’s three-legged house. She is the archetype witch of the transformative agent of the psyche containing the wise and the terrifying tester. This alerted me that when a threshold guardian shows up there is something around the corner.

 
Click on thumbnail to see full size image. Majio