Thursday, October 4, 2007

Artists Speak About Their Art and Spirituality

One of the commitments made as part of our grant proposal to explore the interrelationship(s) between creativity and spirituality was development of a guide to relevant resources, primarily those accessible online. This was a task that I personally undertook to produce, and a 116 page document was submitted at program end on the group's behalf. It included a section which was a compilation of quotations by artists speaking about the role
spirituality plays in their art. A few of them are as follows:

“My quilts are not just connections of varied fabrics. They evoke my sense of spirituality and have their own rhythmic movements that relate to my personal connections with the past, present and prayerfully, the future experiences I hope to encounter.”
Diane Pryor-Holland (fiber artist)

“I am exploring the mysterious and intuitive link between spiritual expression and creative practice."
Wasma'a Chorbachi (ceramist)

“My aim was to create a building…which emotionally moved the soul of the visitor toward a sometimes unexpected realization.”
Daniel Libeskind (architect)

“My responsibility as a painter is to serve as agent to connect the viewer with something beyond my own perceptions and impulses, beyond objects and beyond the literal.”
M. Kathryn Massey (painter)

“To create sculpture is to confront our dual nature as both spirit and body. The work must express spirit and speak to the spirit of the person who views it. And yet the work must be embodied. Making sculpture is intensely physical. Doing the work means working with and upon certain materials. It is out of this wrestling with form and matter that spirit can be known.”
Kathryn Field (sculptor)

“I search for the signature of the Spirit.”
Chester Higgins, Jr. (photographer)

“There is an essential link between my creating art and the spiritual. Deeply felt experiences in my life are transformed by my art as part of my personal search for the spiritual and the sacred.”
Tricia Milford (fiber sculptor)

"My connection with the stone involves spirituality and reverence for the spirit that dwells within. It has been on this earth much longer than man and for this reason the stone becomes the teacher, it is simply what my ancestors believe. I am the mediator between the stone and the tools; the stone and the viewer. I visualize what the stone wants to become and I strive to help it blossom.”
Cliff Fragua (sculptor)

"My challenge is to master unique compositions of spiritual significance. I desire to visually engross the viewer through powerful expressive works. I paint from an intuitive point of view. During this process the ‘spirits take possession’ and a ritual theme becomes dominant.”
Bernard Stanley Hoyes (painter)

“I write because life is awesome, because it holds beauty, and at the edge of beauty, a sense of terror. It calls me to risk opening my eyes, to look into the glare. It is an act of faith, for not only must I look into the light, I must look into the dark.”
Jean Janzen (poet)

“We have the power and the responsibility to shape new forms in the landscape, physical and spatial forms that will sustain and nourish, and poetically express that all-important intangible, the human condition at its spiritual best.”
Fay Jones (architect)

“For me, both art and spirituality are truly about tending to the moments of life. Listening deeply, holding space, encountering the sacred, touching eternity. For a moment we touch time beyond time and in that quality of presence my heart grows wider, my imagination frees, my breath catches, and I am held in awe and wonder. We know we have touched this moment when we are moved by something beyond us yet also rising from deep within. We may be moved to tears or to laughter, or maybe both. In these moments the particulars of the world open us up to a great expanse. We suddenly see the other world hidden in the heart of this one. We may not know exactly why or how, but we know we have been touched and gently transformed, invited into greater compassion for ourselves and the world. In these moments words fail me and I want to sing and dance and cry poems from the center of my being. I try to capture them in images as a doorway to the next moment.”
Christine Valters Paintner (photographer)

“My work in fiber arts reflects the constant changes I experience in my personal and spiritual life. I use my work to explore the forces of nature and the mysteries of the soul.”
Doshi (fiber artist)

“In my work I explore the relationship between violent destructive impulses in the world and the power of spirituality to overcome them. There is a delicate balance between the natural forces, human impulse (destructive and constructive), and an underlying spiritual presence in the world which assists in turning destructive aspects of our behavior into peaceful ones, the outcome being beauty and harmony. This struggle is manifested and presented in its final form in the finished piece of art work. In this way, each piece that I make, whether it is a sculpture, painting or drawing on wood, is a result of this process.”
Tanya Bell (sculptor & mixed media)


Unknown said...

I enjoy reading this blog and the thought provoking articles you write. To me, art has always encompassed a spiritual aspect, whether on the surface or beneath, in my soul somewhere. The act of producing art is a spiritual experience, to go into a plane where time passes and I rest in the arms of the art I am producing. I am always sad when the piece is done, and wonder if another will every come that leds me into the depths of creation.

Unknown said...

clarification - I meant -
I am always sadden when the piece is done and wonder if another will ever allow me, to go again, into the depths of creation that brings such focus while creating that piece. The process is a form of worship to me.

Gwen Magee (Gwendolyn) said...

Kaywebb, you are not alone. Many artists create from that perspective:

“Unraveling the cloth to reveal the beautiful things that happen when dye enters the cloth
was akin to my experience of rediscovering myself. It was like finding God each time I gave into the mystery of the process.”
Doshi (fiber artist)

"Working with clay is not an intellectual act for me; it is a spiritual act, a form of prayer that no words can adequately describe. The gift of this communion is the vessel that, when transformed by fire, will last as long as the stones of the earth,"
Jeff Harris (ceramist)

“Some of the images are prayers, some are life’s passion and wrestling, and some are questions about who God is and what faith and spirituality might be. I hope all serve as windows into God's wild and transforming Love.”
Melanie Weidner (painter)

Tangled Stitch said...

Thank you for such a wonderful blog site dedicated to the artist. Sometimes it is hard to find the inspiration but recently discovering that I am an artist and not a crafter it is wonderful to know that there is somewhere to go to find out about others who have gone before and succeeded. Thank you again.

Gwen Magee (Gwendolyn) said...

Tangled Stitch,

The move from crafter or hobbiest to artist is a journey that begins with awareness. In my own work, I didn't make that discovery on my own - I had to be told that was what had occurrd. Even then, it was a while before I believed it.