In 1976 during an LSD trip with my husband, Alex, I experienced my body turning into infinite strands of light that were both a fountain and a drain. As I lay meditating next to Alex, I could see that he too had been revealed as a fountain and drain, individual and distinct but connected to my "energy unit." I realized that all beings and things were blowing off and sucking in pure energy in an infinite field of confluent effluences. The energy was love, the unifying force. Upon sharing our experiences, Alex and I concurred what we had both sensed: that we had been in identical spaces envisioning identical imagery. This changed both of our artwork as we felt that we had been witness to the most important thing: a revelation of the grid upon which the fabric of our material reality is draped. Sometime thereafter, I read a quote describing the Jewel Net of Indra. In the abode of Indra, the Hindu God of Space, there is a net that stretches infinitely in all directions. At every intersection of the net there is a jewel so highly polished and perfect that it reflects every other jewel in the net. This description related powerfully to the revelation that we had received while in our altered state. It has been my continuing intention to point to this experience in my artwork.
The use of squares, spectrums, grey scales and uncomplex materials such as oil paint on wood and ink wash or watercolor on paper represents my effort to simplify and reduce down to the basics, to show complexity through miminal means. The color spectrum is a preset system. The square is an elemental human-made shape rarely found in nature. In portraying an ineffable state, I prefer not to attempt to imitate nature and rather employ the forms offered in painting: the color wheel and the template of squares. The Jewel Net image and my representation of Chaos show opposing forces made from the same "substance," existing simultaneously without conflict. These have become my personal icons, and I use and reuse them. I see this as a parallel to the spiritual energy which is the pure essence of life, continually changing but also constant and elemental.
Intending to create spiritual art, I feel naturally attracted to abstraction and to a written sacred language. Being Jewish, I have been influenced by the unportrayable quality of the Holy Spirit, and by the devotion to the written word. Jews in synagogue pray facing an ark, or closet, in which one or more Torahs, the holy scriptures, are kept. Specially trained and ordained scribes write with expert calligraphy, letter by letter, on valuable prepared sheep skin parchment, every word of the Five Books of Moses. If there is a single error, the page must be destroyed and restarted. Torahs are generally dressed in silk and precious metals. The reverence for the written word is not unique to Judaism. Every known religion reveres its holy writing. Sacred writings of all faiths, however, come into conflict through human interpretation, as the written word defines the differences of philosophy and traditions, when truly the basis of all religion is unity and infinite love. In 1975, I began writing automatically in an invented or transmitted language. I simply sat down with a rapidograph pen and a sheet of Strathmore drawing paper and filled the page. I continued to fill pages with these symbols for about half a year. I do not give meaning to the symbols in my art, as it is meaning that separates experience from expression. The alphabet that I use points to the notion of a sacred language beyond meaning. Like a mantra which repeats forward or backward in its entirety, the order of the letters is generally constant, avoiding randomness. In my most recent work, I create "Text Pages" combining the icons of chaos and perfection (the Jewel Net) with the secret language, where the abstractions give meaning to the text and vice versa. Both are non-literal representations calling the sacred to mind ,similar to the experience of seeing an illuminated text in a foreign language and religion.
Jewel Net of Indra (77K)
Square Root (57.3K)
Text Page #5 (75.2K)
Text Page #7 (118.6K)
Text Page #10 (66.3K)
Text Page #14 (87.6K)