Sunday, June 24, 2012

CORE
















CORE ANNOTATIONS 

FROM THE 





Stephen Frost PhD

 University of California, Berkeley/ECAI


Even the most ‘abstract’ or ‘non-representational’ painting may have content and context that are important to its meaning- witnesses in an ongoing response to otherwise ineffable inner experience.  This is not separate from either world history or the vast and variable parameters of the moment. Rather, it colors, animates and provides a rich cache of meaning.  Is, in fact, vital to aesthetic experience. Thus, these captions and other annotations.

This is a tale of transformation.  It draws its figures from a strong, very young 'nature' orientation- the spirit(s) that dwell therein- a secular altruistic materialism waged against Art and high Religion (revealing, at least, some of the magics and disciplines that course through those veins).  Nature is reaffirmed and vast inner landscapes traversed- capitals and wilderness of the physical globe as well.  Darkest darkness faced, and the most intimate lights struck.  
Be careful, you too might be transformed!

______________________









-67. [5.67 Ecstasis I]: Love in the Wild- 


...This is a dry point zinc plate engraving that I made in Jr. High School. My teacher, Ms. Ratzlaff-with whom I was deeply infatuated-entered this print in a state wide student competition. It won a gold key and blue ribbon. This image is 3" x 4", 1962. 


Compare with [#158],  a conclusive work at the end of this collection of Frost's paintings.




Bracketed [numbers] are from the UC Berkeley 2010 count:
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CAPTIONS 
And 
Works of Art 

Captions might turn out to be a most important element in this over all collection of stories, visual art, poetry and critical essays, since here the latent, but inextricable relationship between these expressive parts is drawn most simply. 

In good Abstract Expressionist fashion, the captions and titles for the artworks of NEPSIS (can) indicate the locale, or complex of themes and interests that are the aesthetic environment in which these works operate. To a great degree, it is in the progress of these paintings that the artist works out the theologies and philosophies of his concern. By using these artistic processes in addition to critical method, an approach develops for expressing and catalyzing a broader and deeper experience of being. These  captions and titles thus become directional signs for artifacts of a broader excavation. 

While most of the following reproductions are of good quality, it is important to remember that these are artifacts from a larger intention--a better configuration of the elements of perception personally and culturally.  See the Nepsis Site Map in this regard.  The best available reproductions are provided below for the sake of displaying important aspects of this search and research. 

Also see SATISFACTION or “Tracts One and Five” from the BOOK OF TRACTS  and all other introductions and forewords from Nepsis Table of Contents and Site Map for art theory and background. Especially review the attempted integration of art and story in LETTER TO A BISHOP, NEPSIS FOUNDATION—ANTI NOVEL, SUMMATIONS, INTERSTATES II--Dissertation Art Catalog-- and INTERSTATES III, a novel. One might regard attempts of integration between images and texts as lines of counterpoint themes. 


In addition to the core of Nepsis art, this current selection suggests the larger ambiance or environment in which the core, numbered above, lives and breaths. 
______________________________________________________
*Plain, positive numbers indicate a 2012 Inventory of Frost's art which includes about 100 more reproductions than earlier counts.
*Minus marks or negative numbers, ' - ', (Before trip to Bolivia, summer 1973) indicate student works.
*[Brackets] here indicate 2010 UCB/ECAI numbers.  
*X's indicate missing images- The topic here being the flow of annotations/captions.

______________________________________________________



4 of 67 still extant school works (before 1973) from the University of California, Berkeley NEPSIS FOUNDATION  Art Catalog. (Captions updated here.)  These titles/topics reveal early themes central for this project's 2005 distillation and Table of Contents- See: THE BERKELEY CORE- Identity- who and what we are; Theology, Metaphysics, Aesthetics; Nature/Landscape- Mind/Body, External/Internal Sensibilities-Particular/Absolute values, tones, hues:



-11 [13.4] Landscape IV
Lightfullness of Natural Places/Processes-View from the 'window of my adolescence' (i.e. my bedroom window with view across our canyon to that row of trees)-with
Dark Star.

X

-13? [5k]  “Psyche of Nature/Dragon Rises/Inner Landscape”
___________________________________________________




-1[1]
Distant Horizon/Distant Vision I
Oil on Canvas 38" x 28" 1973
Developing from a long series, 1968-'73 of nature and 'life' (live nude models) drawings and paintings, this last series of student observation and (landscape) paintings,-1 thru -5, represents a cycle of artistic abstraction, a distillation or coalescence of elements; a model, if you like, that breaks through to new realizations or a new form of being. These paintings suggest 'young, curious, activity gazing at its destiny on the distant, empty horizon' and begin a cycle of thematic consideration. These paintings lead to other works of mandalic consequence. The material covered in-between remarks upon a relationship with Surrealist Abstract Expressionism, Christian Icon, Shamanistic Fetish, Tibetan Buddhist Mandalas and the practical worldviews associated with these. 



-3[3]
Distant Horizon/Distant Vision III
Oil on Canvas 36" x 30" 1973



-4[4]
Distant Horizon/Distant Vision IV
Oil on Canvas 36" x 30" 1973
...These paintings lead to other works of mandalic consequence [over several decades]. The material covered inbetween remarks upon a relationship with Surrealist Abstract Expressionism, Christian Icon, Shamanistic Fetish, Tibetan Buddhist Mandalas and the practical world views associated with these...

***






ART #s [-1 thru -5] above are SCHOOL WORKS in which essential elements of 6 years college study of English Literature and Studio Arts, several drawings, paintings, prints, and sculptures coalesced in such a way as to indicate I was ready to continue on my own artistically- in any case, that's what happened. Due to my training under Abstract Expressionist masters, and because of Abstract Expressionist interface of religious and aesthetic methodology to develop one’s intuition and access the ‘unconscious,’ I feel some Abstract Expressionist tenets remain viable and a pertinent vehicle for the 'research' and intentions of the NEPSIS FOUNDATION project. Also compare to the poems by the artist from this period to be found from the Nepsis Foundation site map. The picaresque narratives—fiction and nonfiction-- that lead to the Nepsis Foundation novels and thus the final Cycles II and III of the NEPSIS FOUNDATION AND ORACLE OF XIBALBA accounts, also begin here. 

Slowly, an unusual perspective about human perception and activities developed and is presented, 30 years later, in this work, c 2005.

_______________________________________________________


From "Berkeley Core," 2012:




This little oil pastel, made on the way to Bolivia, summer 1973, marks the transition from student work above to independent agency- traveling the roads of the world and feeling to have accomplished my under -graduate goals by becoming a competent poet and artist.  

Then, I landed in a monastery and that opened whole new worlds of meaning and possibility by knowing what our ancestors had accomplished relative to the 'inner world' of the psyche and animating metaphysical exercise.



Before the monastery, but after Bolivia, I made about 100 works of art:
'hard edge and geometric form create a counterpoint for amorphous color and space' 


THE PARTICULAR AND THE ABSOLUTE:





8 [6]
Dragon Womb
Oil on Canvas 6' x 2.5' 1974


Painting #8[6] is early in a series of many works that stretches over several years. The main formal elements here are amorphic color and space in counterpoint relationship with hardedge, linear and geometric embellishments. It is about the relationship between the general context of being and specific experience as open and luminous. This subject might also be likened to the Sipahpuni (Hopi), the point of emergence from mythic underworlds as well as the physical and psychic womb, to levels of increasing realization. Thus, this painting indicates secondly, a poignant moment of transition in physical and personal evolution guided by what I might have called back then, the Dragon Lord, i.e., a salvific, catalytic function of Spirit in Nature; God, if you like, or Grace. (I skirt here the word, "destiny", purposely because of its static, fatalistic implication.)  Generally, in Frost's work, 'Dragon' refers to the psyche of Nature or just Nature.  It is not a scriptural reference.

FIRST SERIES: SAN FRANCISQUITO CANYON, S. CALIFORNIA. About 100 Paintings and Drawings.
SEE ESP. CAPTIONS #8 & 9 [6 & 7]. THESE CAPTIONS HOLD FOR MOST THIS FIRST SERIES.... FIRST SERIES: SAN FRANCISQUITO CANYON, S. CALIFORNIA. Though these 100+ art works (including variations and latter-day throwbacks, etc.) depend upon a counter point between large, amorphic color forms and space with hard edge, geometric embellishments, the over all collection starts with snowscapes and small landscapes. Soon jet trails impressed the artist and thus begins this series that followed several years of nature and 'life' studies.


"Frost's work is like choirs singing one to another, it's Chant and Mozart at once... Certain collections of various of the paintings create a resonance in their space beyond the norm of art exhibitions. What we see here is art that operates under both an aesthetic valence but as well, these are religious objects --icons and bits of mandalic vision like shards of a Rose Window..."   Dr. L. Lancaster UC/ECAI, Berkeley, CA



9[7]
Strider
(Dragon Painting II)
Oil on Canvas 5' x 4' 1974
The ‘dragon’ theme in these works is a reference to nature and our metaphysical, technological relationships with nature. From a Greek name, St. George (Gk.=earth worker) of dragon slaying fame is anthropologically the agriculturist or farmer who tamed nature by developing agriculture. He/She represents a major technological step in the human project. My interest in George, from the other end of a spectrum, is our understanding of our own powers and purpose in relationship to our natural and spiritual origin.

The title, "Strider", is from the ‘motion’ of this nature painting that reminds me of the movement of a Water Strider, the long legged, lightweight insect that flickers across woodland ponds and streams. Yet, as well, the painting still suggests a more cosmic ambiance--and a plain character of royal significance in popular literature.  Though my interest in dragons has nothing to do with fantasy novels but is associated with experiences of the ‘genius loci’ described in the pilgrimages of LETTER TO A BISHOP in the NEPSIS FOUNDATION.



11[11]
Dragon Host
Oil on Paper 40" x 30" 1975
Originally titled "Eucharist", or "Dragon Eucharist." This work continues the themes of the paintings above. But, when this painting was made, I had moved from a completely secular environment and lifestyle to a Roman Catholic monastery. Catholic influences were beginning to enter my previously Surrealist, Abstract Expressionist work.  See captions #s [1-7] above.


The 'Dragon' reference in these works derive from a series of realizations/occasions on the road and at home.  One such was on our way to India.  We had a lay-over in Rome, so we went to Assisi to pay our respects to the great saint.  To do so we found a meadow in a canyon above the ancient town. There, my companion and I made a vigil over night- a night of sitting and walking meditations.  We’d been fasting but had water and some cherries we bought in a road side stand as we explored for the place to make our vigil.  It was a moon lit night and sometime after mid-night, a voice in my mind said,
“If you turn around you will see them.”
I turned and only saw the moon-lit meadow.  Then, to the left on the bank of a stream, in a sycamore tree, on a specific branch, one could see a kind of alteration is space, like heat waves rising from a summer pavement on a sunny afternoon.  Unquestionably, it was a ‘presence’ we both witnessed.  We offered it some cherries.
When morning came, we hiked out.  Spent some time in the famous old town and noticed an inordinate number of cast iron dragons around town.  Playfully at first, we identified this icon with the psyche of nature as we identified our experience the night before.  But I am also a catholic priest.  And for us, it is the Holy Spirit that animates the world.  None-the-less, we always talk about the Dragon of Assisi in a completely positive way.
On the morning that Catherine and I left Assisi, we walked down to the train station on the plain below that hill-top town. Once down, we turned to see the town encircled by a dragon-like cloud of roiling dark reds, golds and umber coils. Though the full account of this important realization/experience of an all night vigil above Assisi and the sacred encounter had there is told elsewhere, it was the first conscious encounter with what I would come to identify as the Dragon Lord- -
The Holy Spirit ln Creation.


These captions about this 'First Series' also takes its inspiration from the formal set of Tai Chi wherein the martial artist begins in the "void", Wu Chi, moves through the prescribed sequence of precise movements, then returns to the "void" at the end. Each position and movement engages an 'energy,' Chi, generated from "nothingness" or Spirit, Shin. ... 



16 [13.33] Ideas About Pyramids And The Trinity 
Oil Pastel on Paper 30” x 22” 1973. 
In Human Perception--Self, Environment, Absolute! From Egyptian Creation Mythology, the Mountain of Being rises from Primordial Chaos- Consider Egyptian Pyramids in this regard. See Paintings 148-156 [114-128] and RESOLUTION from the NEPSIS.COM SITE MAP. Also, consider Vedic and Christian Theophany.
_________________________________________________________





Crucifixes and other Christ Images. 

Human figures replace geometric embellishments from above counterpoint- [#23- 43 below], for example. 




78[23]
Crucifix with Antlers
Oil on Panel 5.5' x 3' 1977-1987
...Shamanistic themes involving earth powers and metaphysical energies in relationship with the Passion of Christ, expressed here with ancient symbols for the divine hunt--antlers, and the crucifix, display an underlying unity in a variety of spiritual traditions and experience. In this work, the practical influence of shamanistic elements is beginning to be apparent. Abrahamic and Asian religions live on their inheritance from the Animist/Shamanistic intuition.




81[27]
Crucifix
Homage to Beamish
Oil on Panel 3' x 5' 197?

Alice Beamish helped me in college, was my second great art teacher, took me into the world of Abstract Expressionism (just as it was dying), introduced me to a Benedictine monastery where I was baptized into the 'Way of Life,' i.e., Religion. This painting was painted in homage to the same theme in Beamish's work.  She died screaming in a contemplative convent in the Hollywood Hills, California-- Perhaps convent life being too different from the Art world and/or cancer too painful. A great friend. A great teacher.





82[28]
Crucifix/Resurrection
Stained glass window. Colored glass chunks set in epoxy. 1' x 2' 1977.  This is a study for a larger window that was accidentally destroyed, subsequent to completion.





117[46].
Crucifix/Ascension
Mixed Media 6' x 4' 1987
Mostly black and white, impasto image on a partition/sculpture...





88[92]
St. Francis
Cast Concrete, Life-size, 1977

From the first part of a letter to:
ABBEY OF THE HOLY TRINITY
HUNTSVILLE, UTAH 8431
April 14, l977

Dear friends,

In parting, I thought it would be good for me to write a few words of explanation about the art that I am leaving behind and also to thank you for my stay here.  1. The posture of the statue of St. Francis is taken from that of a real mendicant minstrel I saw once sitting on the curb in a town in the south of Mexico. He was playing a guitar and singing for his alms. It occurred to me that this is the sort of thing that Francis might have done. This modern beggar was dressed in brown rags by the way. I think that he was blind. I'm not sure since his face and eyes were directed towards the heavens and I was across the street. Francis suffered a painful eye disease so I fashioned his eyes in the unusual way that I did. For an unexplainable reason, I excluded ears when I made his head. I felt this to be justified conceptually. The only reason that I can verbalize is that the important things he heard in his life, he heard not with his ears, but with his heart. So, the statue is really a symbol for his life not just a representation of the saint.





83[32]
Bullring
Oil on Panel 5.5' x 3' 1983
The metaphysical ambiance of this painting is generated from a dramatic ideal represented by the circle of the bull ring and its ‘ritual of truth’ as a cultural, even mythic encounter between temporal consciousness and the raging challenge of being.  This reflected in the Benedictine cross with 3 spiritual beings.  These might be saints or holy entities from the other world, anthropomorphized.



84[33]
Trinity
Oil on Panel 7'x4', 1978
Homage to Rublev’s 15th Century Russian Icon, "Trinity." This painting attempts to deal with the influence and empowerment of 'spiritual presence(s)' within the same format as discussed above [#1, 6, 7 and 11]. It uses symbolic gestures of hands and figure, as well as the more abstract distribution of line, color, form, texture and space to represent its mood and intention. After adjusting to the powerful impact that Christian Icons had on me in the monastery and after performing various ascetic practices, I painted this painting. Because this process is similar to the process and intentions of icon makers, I considered this painting to be a ‘modern icon.’ However, by then, I had already read that Egyptian Funerary Painting such as the mummy portraits from Fayum, Egypt, themselves influenced 2000 years ago by Greek and Roman painting, were at the root of the development of Christian Icons. I found these funerary portraits entrancing in their unencumbered liveliness, their frontal centrality and stillness. They gaze from the ‘other world of peace’ into our ‘activity.’ Even at that, this painting remains within range of Abstract Expressionist tenets as well as Catholic theology.



89[36]
Theotokos
(Mother of God)
Oil on Canvas 5.5' x 3' 1977
After adjusting to the powerful impact that Christian Icons had on me in the monastery, after completing a sculpture commission for the monastery on this same theme, Theotokos, and after spending nine months in a Trappist monastery in preparation, I painted this painting. Because this process is similar to the process and intentions of icon makers, I considered this painting to be a modern icon. 'However, by then I had already read that Egyptian Funerary Painting such as the mummy portraits from Fayum, Egypt, themselves influenced 2000 years ago by Greek and Roman painting, were at the root of the development of Christian Icons. I found these funerary portraits entrancing in their unencumbered liveliness, their frontal centrality and stillness. They gaze from the 'other world of peace' into our 'activity.' Even at that, this painting remains within range of Abstract Expressionist tenets as well as Catholic theology.'







95[58]
Genius Mundi
Oil on Canvas 7' x 4' 1980
The psyche of the world makes itself known in various figures. In the making of this painting, I was blocking in areas of color in preparation for another in a series of "nature" paintings inspired by a backpacking trip in the High Sierras. Suddenly, I noticed that I had unconsciously painted this figure that I later identified with certain psychic phenomena I had experienced. See [#s 30, 53 and 60.] See especially [#50], "Fence."

________________

(...Non-figurative Religious Image; Nature and Spirit; 
Animist Immanence)



93[53]
Pure Fall: Crucifix
Oil on Hung Canvas 8' x 4' 1982
This work started out to be a painting inspired by waterfalls in the High Sierras that I had recently seen on a backpacking trip. I was also working on other Crucifix paintings at the time, so this unconscious cruciform appearance is not so much of a surprise. Certain of these paintings contain clear images of which I was unconscious at the time of their creation. Two examples of this are [#60 and #58]. … Refer to Abstract Expressionist methodology that sees its art making as a vehicle specifically modulated so that the unconscious may express itself.





103[30]
Head of Christ--Mandala
Oil on Canvas 24" x 18" 1980
'Religious Studies' begin to show its influence on an art once Modernist, then Christian, now those and something more...  See also [#58, 60, 84-88,94].

______________________________________________________


Nature, Icons And Other Religious Images 







126[31]
Artificer
Oil on Canvas 5' x 3' 1987
One who creates and recreates... the one who searches between worlds... Such a shaman/artist/priest/poet/(warrior) explored here is a primordial figure(s) whose personality and cultural function attempts mediation of the affairs of this world with the intentions of the divine spirit or non-temporal world. This figure fights the battle for sentient being.


90[37]
Mother, Son and Tan Tien
Oil on Canvas, 5.5' x 4', 1985
Originally, I intended this as a complement to #36, "Theotokos." Thus, its placement as the other side of a another (Partition) work about the feminine 'sexual energies', #44, "Dark Lady," one of the strongest and most chilling explorations of yin energy in this collection.



92[39]
Silenced!
Oil on Canvas 5.5' x 3' 1987
Having once been freed from conservative restrictions of parochial ministry, I came to feel as repressed by the just as narrow liberal attitudes of subsequent supporters.




130[44]
Dark Lady
(See #37, Mother/Son)
Mixed Media 12' x 5' 1988
"Dark Lady" is an image of "chilling" presence, according to some. This work simply presents an essential, though dark element of mystical consciousness. This is a sculptural painting in a series of large partitions, at least two sided, meant to operate on two levels: 1. It represents a means of passage between two ‘worlds.’ 2. It is a spiritually or psychically catalytic object aiding in that passage. It helps effect that shift of consciousness to a specific category of ‘other’ states. See also #37, #70 and #80.



119[48] Sent Spell
Mixed Media 7' x 4' 1988
I’m told that ‘sex magic’ is a most potent form of such transformative action, but that it carries with it potential for the worst spiritual retribution. This painting, none-the-less, depicts that positive potential in this exploration. In fact, here is explored an ultimate sense of the power in certain kinds of relational bonding meant to be an analogy for the marriage of heaven and the world. This does not necessarily require actual, physical bonding. But is an indication of certain potent inner states of consciousness. 'This is a sculptural painting in a series of such large partitions meant to operate on two levels: 1. It represents a means of passage between two worlds. 2. It is a spiritually or psychically catalytic object aiding in that passage. It helps effect that shift of consciousness to a specific category of ‘other’ states.'





120[49]
Out There
Mixed Media 7' x 4' 1988
As in #48, here is explored an ultimate sense of the power and vulnerability—a psychic hitch-hiker making oneself vulnerable for the sake of knowledge and power... in certain kinds of relational bonding meant to be an analogy for the marriage of heaven and the world. This does not necessarily mean actual, physical bonding, but is an indication of certain potent inner states of consciousness. 'This is a sculptural painting in a series of such large partitions meant to operate on two levels: 1. It represents a means of passage between two worlds, and 2. it is a spiritually or psychically catalytic object aiding in that passage. It helps effect that shift of consciousness to a specific category of ‘other’ states.'




131[50]
Fence
Mixed Media 18' x 10' 1990
'This is a sculptural painting related to a series of such large partitions, meant to operate on two levels: 1. It represents a means of passage between two worlds and 2. it is a spiritually or psychically catalytic object aiding in that passage. It helps effect that shift of consciousness to a specific category of ‘other’ states.'




132[51]
Deer Window
Mixed Media 5' x 4' 1988
The Deer God is a salvific/guide deity in many parts of the world. It is a solar deity that saved me once in central Mexico. It also guides the Peyote Hunt/Quest.  'This is a sculptural drawing in a series of such large partitions, at least two sided, meant to operate on two levels: 1. It represents a means of passage between two worlds. 2. It is a spiritually or psychically catalytic object aiding in that passage. It helps effect that shift of consciousness to a specific category of ‘other’ states.'






104[54]
Seascape
Oil on Hung Canvas 10' x 4' 1985
Vertical graphite lines intersect a misty intersection of sea and sky. Eternal intent intersects the ‘moment’ of our lives, intervenes in the physics of nature.




94[55]
Ice, Water, Mountain Stone
Oil on Canvas 7' x 4' 1980
…from an influential series of backpacking trips in the High Sierras.




106[61]
The Spell
Oil on Panal 5.5 x 3 1985
The ovoid shape here references Christian Icons, many of which place the Christos in such an ovoid portal. Also referenced here are Tantric and Sex Magic usages of similar shapes, especially when they operate beneath a valence of salvific intention in the artist/practitioners.




124[62]
Achekale, The White Castle.
Oil on Canvas 5.5 x 3.5 1987
This painting is from a pilgrimage to eastern Turkey described as follows:
On my way to Turkey, I stood alone outside Le Vadia, a country railway station in Greece, and was impressed with a sense of a kindness and simplicity that is the ambiance of all our endeavors. I was on my way to Thessalonika, then Istanbul via Pythia as it will say on my ticket. I'd just left the Pythian oracle at Delphi where visions and dream were kind to me. The journey continued in kindness across Turkey; kindness in the people I met, the kindness of God who provided the way-- and at the last moment in the mountains east of Kars, in the kindness of a fellow traveler, a guide who for the moment was obsessed to show me the "Akchekale," the 'white Castle".

I knew that it was 'the place' I was looking for as soon as I saw it. It was a long way from civilization on a promontory above a deep river canyon ... Behind these ancient ruins of a castle, I sat alone in my ritual before the freshly gathered circle of flowers that sang their pure violet to the sacred fire within their circle. The devil-chasing bell sang itself to silence, taking my song along with it in that deserted, white castle, behind its dark tower, between an abandoned water well and a razed church in that place unvisited much, even by Turks much less tourists, a wind blew up the river-cut chasm thousands of feet down,
everything fell away,
fell away-
then,

The Word,
whispered across perception ... and it seemed at that moment that I had died, for how could human biology contain such love. It would have been the same for Buddhist, Christian, Moslem, shaman or priest for it seemed the heart of creation.
There, in that place of an ancient wound, the sacred fire invoked the Spirit, as some beast roared a wailing cry, a terrible sound that tore through the canyon.

This travel joined my need for healing with the healing that I believe is inherent in creation.

I could not look back at the castle when I left, for fear, for respect. I seldom think about it now because when I do, my eyes tear fully, reminded of such fullness. At that moment, though it was smooth and easy in its blessing; pale green, brown rose, yellow
the light set the land

dancing.

______________________________

AFTER THIS PILGRIMAGE TO EASTERN TURKEY, I TURNED TO AN EXPLORATION OF THE LEFT-HAND PATH--EVIL?  THE YEMEN EXPERIMENT!



115[63] Sushumna
Black Space/Red Trail
Oil on Canvas 24" x 18" 1987

An ‘artifact’ of unconsciousness after a blackout from an excess of distilled spirits. What was the content of that experience of nothing? Pure, clean, refreshing, black space. Surprise! The other world!

(X- Sometimes, some of these images have a threatening effect on certain viewers.)



111[64]
"And the House Burned Down"
Oil on Canvas 44" x 32" 1972-2012.

"…There is something that I should mention that I discovered about …(the) rainmaking experience in Montana. … within a week or less, his bishop had died and his family's ranch burned down. Then, within a month, his father died of a heart attack. An aftermath of the fire." 
From, LETTER TO A BISHOP/MONTANA RITUAL. S. Frost, 1990.



113[65]
Owl and Mouse
Oil on Canvas 44" x 32" 1987

(See NEPSIS POEMS: ‘72-’73, "BEGIN")

From the last section of the poem:

A moth beats its wings against the window pane.
A hummingbird sits on a branch looking from behind a leaf.
Gnats swarm in mobile circles beneath a tree.
There bursts the cotyledon
a red bud bursts
ready with pistil and stamen
a barn owl
slow,
steady,
dark shadow after sunset,
a mouse scurries through the wild oat fields
All is ready

once

Twice

again we rise

with a chorus of scraping chairs

we rise.
______




123[69]
Desert/Sea III
Oil on Canvas 5' x 4' 1987
There are a number of art works in this collection that seem more clearly than others to be the product of some specific religious ‘preparation’ or ‘practice.’ For instance, I painted "Theotokos" 
#[36] immediately after spending nine months with Catholic monks (Trappists) in their monastery in Utah. I know that this painting carries/expresses something of the ‘energy’ of that powerful and ascetical experience. The same is true of these less clearly ‘representational’ "Desert/Sea" paintings; #’s [67, 68, 69]. Though, these pieces are more a response to ‘wilderness’ experiences; either the sea or desert or mountains. The pilgrimage stories, documentary or fiction, of NEPSIS also are expressions of such preparation/practice/exercise.



134[70]
Goddess Rising
Oil on Canvas 42" x 30" 1987
This painting is intended to carry some of the experience of a curious effect of the feminine on the masculine psyche. From NEPSIS FOUNDATION Table of Contents, SECTION III: EAGLE ROCK:
“When I first visited this place that we later named Eagle Rock, I was with my friend and partner. She is a very beautiful woman and rare for me in that she is one of the few for whom I might have preferred marriage to celibacy. We remain platonic friends. My mother accompanied me on this subsequent visit about to be described. This is an important change of characters for two reasons. One is that my mother, nearly eighty years old, is not so interested in religion or paranormal phenomena. She prefers politics and history. Therefore, she is detached from enthusiasm about religious, psychic and other para-critical phenomena. The second reason is that an archetype showed itself here. The archetype is, I believe, a catalyst for the paranormal seed of this story. The archetype is that of mother and son/goddess and hero. (It amuses me, and others, to think of myself as a hero, but even the least among us have moments of glory.) Rather than this being an exercise in self-glorification, I merely point out an archetype that has been glorified in the past. Heracles="the glory of Hera," hero/priest sacrificed in communication with the divine. Jesus and Mary, Theotokos, is another example. This important dynamic, largely ridiculed in modern culture, is essential to creativity, mysticism and much traditional lore... (See The White Goddess, Robert Graves, p. 124. Also see, The Cyclical Serpent, Paul Halpern, for how Dionysus saves his mother from Hell. Think of mythic Grendel and his poor Mother in the face of patriarchal Beowulf propaganda… or a few rogue Catholic priests whose scandalous abuse of young people is used to defame thousands of innocent priests, celibacy and the whole Church with its devotion to the Blessed Mother.)
...This "old dispensation" includes a Shamanism that reaches out from Paleolithic times into our own because there are people who still live a stone age existence to some degree and because Shamanism is a trans-temporal function of human personality. This old dispensation also includes the priesthood. This topical reference might start with the sacrificial priesthood of the Great Goddess from around the Mediterranean wherein the hero/sacred king/priest/son/consort is adulated for a time, then sacrificed to become divine. His initiates would often eat his flesh and blood in communion with their deity. This function of the mediatory priesthood, hieros or hierophant, extends to the priesthood of Jesus Christ, in the order of mythic "Melchizedek of old." [See, First Eucharistic Prayer from the Order of the Mass for Melchizedek reference.] These realizations lead to "Memo to a Bishop" that heads up the conclusions to this project. See NEPSIS Section III for "Memo" and "Eagle Rock" in the same section, for 'the story'… Also see paintings #[44] and #[80]”




139[80] 
Oil on Canvas 18" x 15" 1987
See also [#44, #48 and #70.]  

Before an embryo differentiates into male or female, the sex organs are the same. This painting reflects upon the capacity for coitus and the ecstatic drives that propagate species...

Many Christian icons depict the Holy One issuing from such a vertical ovoid shape.  Also, see painting [#158] “Ecstasis” and read "Memo to a Bishop."  




141[82]
Freeways Dissect the Sacred
Oil and Mixed Media on Canvas 5'x 4' 1987




142[83]

"Release"
Oil on Canvas 4' x 4' 1988
At this point, I left the Southland in California, left the Diocese of Orange, moved to Berkeley to take up that PhD program.  See [#93] “Mural of the Resurrection” and its controversy.  Spiritual and Aesthetic Initiation continues, but heated, full of enthusiasm—or is it just vanity?  Family home had burned the week of the MONTANA RITUAL, father and bishop had succumbed to fatal heart attacks, mother had been liberated, brother divorced during the Yemen Experiment that same spring and summer, ‘86.  Then there was a year as Artist in Residence in Long Beach.  
Chris Hensley, a high degree American, Kung Fu teacher helped construct there the mystical circles necessary for this kind of battle—the Spell.


HERE ENDS THE COLLECTION FROM THE FIRST PERSONAL EXPLORATIONS OF NEPSIS ART, PILGRIMAGE, RITUAL AND RESEARCH.  THIS WILL BE TAKEN UP AGAIN WITH THE BATTLE WORKS DISPLAYED UNDER [#99].

***

MANDALAS:  
See Nepsis Dissertation Table of Contents Appendices 3 and 4 on the UCB Nepsis Foundation Site Map- Appendix. 





145[86]
Mandala: India II
Deity of the Mandala (Uncommon Protective Mandala)
Oil on Canvas 2' x 2.5' 1990
Paintings [#84-87] were painted upon my return from India in1990. I had first journeyed to India to study Tibetan Buddhism (1980): in particular, Tibetan Mandalas, (1990). Paintings [#88] and [#94] continue the influence of this study and practice. (Painting [#30], also reflects an early interest  in this complex of themes.) The Mandala in Tantric Yoga, like the Christian Icon and its theologies, is the Great Art of Divine/Mundane union, the Symbolon. This practice and product requires the reconfiguration of intellect, emotion, imagination and physicality of the practitioner for re-creation of the whole human person in its 'true' or 'divine' image. In other words, this attempts full, true 'conversion.' That is the intention for both the practitioner and for the world. Thus, an actual mandala or madalesque (iconic) art carries that same intention: the ‘salvation’ or ‘realization’ of individual and world by seeking and telling, ‘being,’ this truth. This is the touchstone for the whole of the NEPSIS research.




144[85]
Mandala: India III
Deities of the Mandala (Uncommon Protective Mandala)
Oil on Canvas 24" x 30" 1990
'Paintings #[84-87] were painted upon my return from India in1990. I had first journeyed to India to study Tibetan Buddhism (1980): in particular, Tibetan Mandalas, (1990). Paintings #[88] and #[94] continue the influence of this study and practice. (Painting #[30], also reflects an early interest in this complex of themes.) The Mandala in Tantric Yoga, like the Christian Icon and its theologies, is the Great Art of Divine/Mundane union, the Symbolon. This practice and product requires the reconfiguration of intellect, emotion, imagination and physicality of the practitioner for re-creation of the whole human person in its 'true' or 'divine' image. In other words, this attempts full, true 'conversion.' That is the intention for both the practitioner and for the world. Thus, an actual mandala or madalesque (truly iconic) art carries that same intention: the ‘salvation’ or ‘realization’ of individual and world by seeking and telling—being—this truth. This is the touchstone for the whole of NEPSIS./




147[88]
Mandala: India V
Nature is the first Mandala, the human person is the second.
Oil on Canvas 5' x 5' 1990
'Paintings #[84-87] were painted upon my return from India in1990-1991. I had first journeyed to India to study Tibetan Buddhism (1980): in particular, Tibetan Mandalas, (1990). Paintings #[88] and #[94] continue the influence of this study and practice. (Painting #[30], 1980, reflects an early interest in this complex of themes.) The Mandala in Tantric Yoga, like the Christian Icon and its theologies, is the Great Art of Divine/Mundane union, the Symbolon. This practice and product requires the reconfiguration of intellect, emotion, imagination and physicality of the practitioner for re-creation of the whole human person in its 'true' or 'divine' image. In other words, this attempts full, true 'conversion.' That is the intention for both the practitioner and for the world. Thus, an actual mandala or madalesque (truly iconic) art carries that same intention: the ‘salvation’ or ‘realization’ of individual and world by seeking and telling—being—this truth. This is the touchstone for the whole of NEPSIS.'
_____________________________________________



1991

COMPARE THE FOLLOWING #s 148-156 [14-22] 1991, TO #s 8-9 [6 & 7] 1973-'77, ABOVE.



148[14]
Zen Mountain
Oil on Canvas 40" x 30" 1991

The holy mountain: Sumeru, Sinai, Zion, Kailash are precedents. This might be Kundalini yoga, Buddhist or Catholic reference for spiritual ascent. 'Move beyond dark and light forces to the "lamb whose light casts no shadow."' These seven paintings are spiritually 'friendly' to the famous "Elephant or Buffalo Taming Pictures" of Buddhism. The "Taming" pictures depict progress in meditation in the form of taming a wild beast... until the beast disappears. These paintings also contain a "battle" theme as microcosm projects itself into the macrocosm. The "battle" is always a battle of the "self."
See also caption #1 and #6 above and #99 following.
...Intense preparation precedes such distilled image, the famous Zen painting of “Persimmons” for example.



152[18]
WAR: “No One's Funeral, For There Is No One To Bury”   T. S. Eliot, "Four Quartets"
Oil on Canvas 40" x 30" 1991
See Caption #1, #6 and #14 above and #99 following.



153[19]
Rorate Caeli I
Oil on Canvas 48" x 36" 1991
(Gregorian Hymn, "Rain down your blessing, o ye heavens." Actually, the Latin is more beautifully poetic than my ‘loose translation,’ but this is what I remembered when I painted and titled this painting. Here's a translation from the 1924 Daily Missal (Benedictine Abbey of Saint Andre Press) for this the principal hymn used in Vespers for Advent that goes back to the Sixth Century and is sung in the fourth tone. 'Rorate Caeli' is a response verse to the hymn. Following the hymn, the Versicle is "Rorate Coeli de super, et nubes pluant justum." "Ye heavens, drop down dew from above, and let the clouds rain down the Just One." And the responsorial is "Aperiatur terra et germinet Salvatorum” and "Let the earth open and bud forth the Savior."
 This sensibility that allows nature to play such a productive role in salvation [one's world view] become an important touchstone for much of the Nepsis Foundation's conversation...
 
See Caption [#1, #6 and #14] above and [#99] following.



154[20]
Rorate Caeli II (Gregorian Hymn, "Rain down your blessing, o ye heavens.")
Oil on Canvas 40" x 30" 1991
See Caption [#1, #6, #14 and #19] above and [#99] following.


WE ARE STILL VERY MUCH IN THE MIDST OF ‘INITIATION.’  THOUGH, #s [93-99] JUST PRECEDING MARK AN IMPORTANT TRANSITION INTO ITS FINAL STAGE.  SEE CYCLE III IN NEPSIS FOUNDATION: THE ORACLE OF XIBALBA.

_______________________________________________

Numbers [91, 92,] and [94-96], large public works, were made around the same time as the more intimate and personal pieces more typical of this collection #s [23 – 43], 1975--1987.




105[93]
Mural of the Resurrection/Ascension/ Parusia
St. Joseph Church, Santa Ana, California. (Mural unfinished.)
Acrylic on Concrete 40' x 29' 1985-6

An icon of ritual intent, consecrated at the 1995 Easter Vigil for that church with spiritual root in Cuernavaca drawings (and Mexico City earthquake!) that lead to this image.  (Since God is a human symbol for deity, and philosophically his/her/it's nature must be completely simple and constant, even such momentous events as the Resurrection, Ascension and Parusia are essentially the same event.)

______________________________________________________________________




165[94] Who Told You You Were Naked?”
Theopoeisis
A New Innocence
Oil on Canvas 12' x 8' 1996-99

An icon of ritual intent, follows #105[93] consecrated at the 1985 Easter Vigil for a church in Santa Ana that leads, 7 paintings of a progressive theme and 15 years later, to this image-  A consideration of the possibility, the 'indwelling' of the Holy Spirit-  The Holy Land within.  Thus, the pilgrim way of the Holy Lander!

When Adam and Eve are found hiding from God in the Garden of Eden, God replies to Adam’s complaint about being naked with the above query. "Who told you you were naked?" Before the Resurrection and after the creation of Adam and Eve, this question might be the most important moment described in the Bible. How do we lose our innocence, i.e. our natural relationship with the divine spirit… and everything else? This painting in combination with #93, #43, (and #84-88), comment upon the ‘answer’ to the problem of the Fall in Genesis--The Christos, or our christic identity—or as Panikkar would have it, a "New Innocence." The old innocence is lost. It cannot be reclaimed by modernity. But there is the possibility of a "new" state that comes from the influence of all the "wisdom traditions" of the past and the altruistic intentions of our own secular age. In relationship to the "New Innocence" is the ancient Church teaching about Theopoeisis, the Rhythm of God, or the movement of the divine spirit in creation. This refers to an early, predominant teaching, or spiritual method, in the Church concerning how such original innocence is rediscovered in one’s life. To live life according to the Rhythm of God, is to discover one’s true identity, and holiness as the completion of nature.

The "horns of light", yellow shapes around the central figure are a reference to mandala themes. See [#84-88], or dissertation appendix.

This painting is the seventh in a series of male nudes at first overtly sexual in the practice of sex magic—'the most powerful and dangerous of magics.'  Working through issues of sexual identity, one comes to a NEW INNOCENCE, with sexuality a discreet mystery—even abstinent, certainly chaste.  See also:  #s [48, 49. 71, 93, 93c, 158]




166[95]
Road to Emmaus  “REALIZATION”
Oil on Canvas 8' x 6' 1996-99
Right wing of SSU Newman mural triptych, #'s 94, 95, 96.
[A powerful realization of Deity, no doubt.]





167[96]  BLESSED MOTHER
Of Consolations
[aka-World Mother, See Robert Grave's White Goddess.]



Oil on Canvas 8' x 6' 1996-99
Left wing of SSU Newman mural triptych, #'s 94, 95, 96.


___________________________________



[98.]
REPAINTS OF [#36. #93, #94]




           89 [36] BEFORE:  The Son Comes of Age--Theotokos, 1977
            89[36] AFTER: The Great Lady Opens Her Eyes, 2011]





105[93] St. Joseph Mural 1986- [Before (Original Oil)
After-  Yet to be finished 2012. It was painted over 2013]
     
       

165[94] Theopoesis-  BEFORE: 



            165[94] AFTER:  A New Innocence Found, The Seeker Returns to this World with the Fire of Heaven- New Christian Identity...




165[94]  Third rework: A Violence to "Innocence"- Painting ripped in three...
_________________________________



158[99]
SEVEN PAINTINGS, A-G.



[99c]



[99g]
THESE SEVEN PAINTINGS, 99a-g, WERE PAINTED AT THE SAME TIME AS THE PREVIOUS THREE MURAL WORKS, #s 94-96.  COMPARE THOSE [MURAL] IMAGES AND CAPTIONS WITH THE CONTENT OF THE FOLLOWING PAINTINGS. THESE SUGGEST SCENES OF INNER BATTLE FOR THE REDEMPTION OF THE WORLD AND SELF.   Battle:  These paintings transit from the mandala paintings (numbered in the [80]’s in the U.C. Berkeley, NEPSIS FOUNDATION Visual Arts index), to 7 Battle paintings numbered under 158[99A-G].  This suggests the interior experience that was indicated by the mural sized paintings made at the same time for the Newman Chapel at Sonoma State University in California where I was chaplain.  See #s 165[94] Theopoesis: The New Innocence, 167[96] The Blessed Mother of Consolations, Guide of Seekers, 166[95] Road to Emmaus:  Realization.

The weapons of this BATTLE are  ‘Stillness’ and the height of sex magic—our attempt at real Chastity, i.e. the love of God. 
(The contents and equipment of this ‘battle’ are described all through this presentation, but specifically and 
 briefly in the TRACTS on the NEPSIS FOUNDATION Site Map.)  
Though, here it can be said that both the ‘Stillness’ --not a matter of inactivity-- and the sex as well depends upon the particular alchemy of personality to determine the effect.

COMPARE ALSO WITH ‘MANDALA’ PAINTINGS [#84-87], TWO OF WHICH ARE REPAINTED HERE...

____________________________________________________



Healdsburg Suite 2000--2001
Nepsis Denouement




 POST MILENIAL WORKS 



Final Stages of Initiation—See RESOLUTION, SECTION III or PART III or Cycle III in 

THE NEPSIS FOUNDATION-- ORACLE OF XIBALBA, LETTER TO A BISHOP and 

HOW DIONYSIUS SAVED HIS MOTHER FROM HELL. 



Georgia and Fr. Steve Leave the Newman Center, Breaking Their Ties to the Past and 

Venture Out into the World—Down the Stream of Consciousness into the Sea of the 

[Sub-]conscious.   







170[101]
Where the River Meets the Sea (I).
Colored and Graphite Pencil on Paper 40" x 22" 2000




174[105]
Rainbird in Long Grass (Muladhara I).
Pencil on Paper ... 2001



176/178[107/109]
Seraphim I & III
Colored Pencil on Paper 40" x 22" 2001
From the encounter described in Cycle III- RESOLUTION, NEPSIS FOUNDATION—ORACLE, et al, as EAGLE ROCK in North West Great Basin of Nevada. THE MOST POIGNANT INTIMACY AND THE TRANSPERSONAL GRANDURE OF THE SPIRIT IN NATURE- Vaulting Splendor. 
[I chose this image to represent the adjacent experiences at Eagle Rock because of its graphic simplicity and purity as well a the sense of vertical rods of sentience that appear in my inner experience of the 'being' that inhabits this holy place in the middle of nowhere... ]
  _________________________________________________



SEVERAL POST NEPSIS CONSIDERATIONS




202[132] Pau Qua II
Acrylic on Canvas 20" X 16" 2004 Sacred Precincts #s [131-137]



224[153]
SPIRIT OF DARK MATTER 7: Blithe Hermit.
More faintly, but still implied here is a conjuring of dark spirits. Not evil, per se. Rather, here we engage the Spirit of Dark Matter. An important influence in my studies has been the 'Genius Loci,' the Spirit of Place(s), and through that the engorged idea of a World Spirit or Soul. Here is something more than a rational extrapolation that posits ‘if places and objects are animated by some kind of spiritual presence or incarnation, then Dark Matter also might share such vitality.’ Here is recounted an encounter with such or other entities from a vast universe as they might be perceived through the vales of human perception...  The landscape references here are from the deserts and alfalfa fields around Blithe, California on the Colorado river.  'Hermit' references the artist's solitude and 'desert' years in the Southwest.  




225[154]
SPIRIT OF DARK MATTER 8: Dark Spirit Backs the Light
Thus perhaps, by such a gift, we see/experience--shapes, colors; emotions, ideas, etc. Thus perception is possible. 'Still implied here is a conjuring of dark spirits. Not evil, per se. Rather, here we engage the Spirit of Dark Matter. An important influence in my studies has been the 'Genius Loci,' the Spirit of Place(s), and through that the engorged idea of a World Spirit or Soul--Gaia. Here is something more than a rational extrapolation that posits ‘if places and objects are animated by some kind of spiritual presence or incarnation, then Dark Matter also might share such vitality.’ 

Here is regaled an encounter with such or other entities from a vast universe as they might be perceived through the vales of human perception...'

***



226[155]  
ALEXANDER the GREAT at SIWA
Following upon a consideration of IDENTITY, i.e. what or who is initiated into whom or what!—explored in all the paintings, but especially examples like [23, 30, 31, 44, 48,70, 93, 94]—and a visit to Siwa, the artist made a heroic size head of “Alexander the Great  at Siwa” where there were many signs that indicated a divine origin for the Hero.  (Also, he was declared a Son of God by the priests at that famous oracle...) This notion was not uncommon in Mediterranean Cultures.  Jesus broke with his own tradition over this issue... The idea was rife in these cultures on both serious and ironic levels.  This reflection on identity and initiation and what to do as the result of deepening understanding about these essential and universal issues, takes the idea and its realization very seriously.

Also see concluding works on the 
Nepsis Foundation Site Map.

Paper Mache over wire core including ‘found elements’ of ‘presence’ from Huachuca during our four-year sojourn there.  Like the paintings, this ‘object’ carries the energies of that place and intentions…





230[158]  
ECSTASIS: FLORA, FAUNA, SPIRIT- 
7’8” X 3’ 7” -Acrylic on Canvas- (2007)- 2009.  
After meeting a seminarian from Italy:  "It was your unusual name (Natale Albino, White Christmas) that was suggestive for me.  Mine is as well in reference to Christmas, but yours is more to the point.  The great Winter Solstice celebrations that used to mark those dates were in part fertility celebrations, but as well warmth and light at the darkest moments of the year.  We also celebrate warmth in the darkness.  Hope at the coldest moments.  

The barren or virginal womb is, of course, the great symbol in the Scriptures of the impossible Void that is the source of all things-- I.e. God, Godhead, or the ineffable ground of being.  Our lives as celibates are also the opportunity for impossible goodness to erupt from barren lives.  My interest explores and acknowledges the whole body of such observance."

An actual spiritual presence of creative fecundity, ecstatic propagation has been inculcated. [I've nurtured on cultures and art- and been well fed.]