I recently applied to a juried show called Transcendence at Manifest Gallery in Cincinnati, Ohio. Manifest made an international call to artists for “works about going beyond the normal”.
/tran(t)ˈsendəns/ noun: existence or experience beyond the normal or physical level. synonyms: superiority, supremacy, predominance, preeminence, ascendancy; incomparability, matchlessness, peerlessness; excellence, greatness, magnificence, sublimity, importance
Manifest writes, “Something many artists strive for in their work throughout their careers—a going beyond ordinary. But what about work that addresses the idea of Transcendence as a subject, rather than an aspect of the ambition, dedication, and rigor of the artist themselves? How does visual art represent, either through subject, form, or content, a notion which, in some form or another, underlies much of human introspection and civilized activity since our earliest days as a species?”
I submitted 4 works to the jury, hoping to be able to contribute to the show. Here’s what I sent:
Truncated Cube, 12” x 12”, Silver-leaf on faded blue paper
The Truncated Cube is associated with Angelic Melancholia ever since Albrecht Dürer’s print Melencolia of 1514. Since Dürer, the Truncated Cube makes an appearance in the work of other artists seeking to visualize the heavenly melancholic geometry as a presenence in the world, there are notable works by Anselm Kiefer and Carsten Nicolai.
2. Metempsychosis, 11.75” x 12.25”, black paint on orange tissue paper, gold leaf, pink paper
Metempsychosis is the transmigration of a soul from one body to another, animal or human. I like to think the soul can transmigrate into the body of a color, becoming blue light, or electricity, a body of water. In any case first the soul flies like a crow in high winds through the dimensions before finding the next body.
3. Aether, 72” x 54”, burnt canvas, white gesso, gold leaf
Aether is the substance of the heavens first theorized by Aristotle in the book On the Heavens. Aristotle claimed that Aether was the 5th element, and the element that composes the Heavens. Fire is the element that rises, and “the single spark and the whole of fire both seek the same place”.
4. Jupiter Square, 60” x 60”, powder pink chalk, light blue pencil, white paint, black gesso on canvas
Jupiter Square is a magic square, which means that each of the 36 cells correspond to one of the numbers 1-36. If one were to add the numbers of brush strokes in each row in any direction, up, down, diagonal, the sum would always be 111. The magic square is associated with the planet Jupiter because it works as a shield to the dark anxiety rays of Saturn. Jupiter provides a calming source of order and balance.