Sunday, 4 November 2018

New Paintings

I have completed some new paintings in the past few weeks.

City Of Grief
City Of Grief
Acrylic on gessoed wood panel frame
40cm x 50cm
October 2018

Magickal 142
Magickal 142
Acrylic, 23 carat gold leaf, genuine platinum on canvas
40" x 60"
October 2018

Enter this place through my painting
Magickal 142
Anpu and Set with moon and sun at the gate
Either side the stelae tell the story of my soul (parts) and destiny

Oh Beautiful Lord Bes
Great Dwarf, how jubilant you are in this place
And jubilant I am, in this place where Geb rests in the hedges
And Set soars in a tree
And where Divine Nut embraces with her four pillars
Even as the 4 bulls are the pillars of protection of this place
Dua Ka Desher
Dua Mer Wer
Dua Ba Akh
Dua Hap

As my ba is nourished by the Gracious Creator Lord Ptah
So does the Holy Serpent unite and untie all of my soul
So does Sekhmet heal my body
And so do Wepwaet, Auset and NebetHt prevail

As Heru hovers so too do I, outside of time to view this place
This Magickal 142,
This birthplace of awakening.

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

My interview on the Profane Egyptologist podcast

I am fortunate to have been included amongst the first guests to be featured on the newly launched Profane Egyptologist podcast.

The interview has been broadcast in 2 parts with Part 1 being a background to my artistic career, and Part 2 discussing the art in depth including specific paintings.

I love the insightful questions that Paul asked, and subsequently it has allowed me to deeply reflect on the genesis of my painting career and the elements that have brought it about. I really should have kept my answers briefer to allow him to ask more interesting stuff! I can see this podcast really taking off.

Please go to this page to see the show notes Paul has included that cover the topics we discuss. Hilariously he has put a link in there because of my mentioning that my first (and recent!) experience in snow included absolutely freezing balls as I had not brought appropriate clothing with me for a New York winter. (It was pointed out to me afterwards that the combination of underwear fabric and the jeans I was wearing created a sensation that made me feel like I had pissed myself all the time; wandering around the icebox that was New York at that time and being paranoid about having a wet patch on my crotch was not much fun I assure you).

Paul's book features one of my paintings on the cover and it is an excellent read. You can get it here.

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Dazzled By The Mirror Of Heaven

Dazzled By The Mirror Of Heaven
Acrylic on linen
48" x 36"
June 2018

This painting is the 6th in my The Netjeru In America series. The sketch for the painting is 3 years old, and was conceived in the United States during my sojourn there for the project much discussed in this blog of looking at the manifestation of Netjer and Kemeticism in that country today.

The painting has been a long time coming and is in my opinion one of the most powerful in the series to date. Conceived in the Boston Museum Of Fine Arts, problems relating to snow during my visit meant that I stayed at the venue longer than I had planned, and I came across a sculpture in the Art Of The Americas wing that inspired this work.

The actual sculpture of Angel Of The Resurrection in Pennsylvania Station by Walker Hancock
The sculpture is called Angel of the Resurrection and portrays Michael the Archangel lifting up a dead soldier out of the "flames of war."  It is a one third in scale model of the Pennsylvania Railroad World War II Memorial (pictured above) which is a monument on the main concourse of 30th Street Station in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The work was designed and created by sculptor Walker Hancock (1901-1998). Hancock made wonderful sculptures of the male physique and angelic / deity figures that my painting tips a hat to.
The "model" of the actual Hancock piece which I saw in Boston MFA
Photo: Wikipedia
The actual sketch for Dazzled was made in the last leg of my trip in San Jose, where on an unseasonably warm day for that time of the year I sat by the poolside and created the sketch. It was on this leg of my visit that I went to Pantheacon and The Rosicrucian Museum. It was a magickal time. I had just met Kemetic iconographer Ptahmassu in West Wendover, and now got to meet Rev. Tamara Siuda (who did an excellent presentation at Pantheocon) and the late Richard Reidy (who also did a wonderful presentation along with HiC Luttmers). I met other members of the Kemetic Temple Of San Jose and San Francisco and participated in my first Kemetic ritual, honouring the Divine Lady Bast.

The hieroglyphs
I later commissioned Tamara to render the Pyramid text passage for me specifically for this work. She changed the context of the piece so “this Pepi” was removed and “I” was inserted.

 The text is my Mission Statement on that page of my website.

The doors of the basin of the starry sky are thrown open to me           
And I go through them.
My leopard skin is on me
And my sceptre is in my hand.

The Pyramid Texts (modified)
Pyramid of King Pepi I
Old Kingdom (6th Dynasty) circa 2332 – 2287 BC  

I have chosen this excerpt from the Pyramid texts as my artist statement because it speaks depths about what I do and am as an artist. It resonates with me in a way that I will attempt to explain. I first became aware of this passage in The Lion Path.

The doors of the basin of the starry sky are thrown open to me
My access to the other realms is not recent, but as I have grown to understand it, and especially as my craft as an artist unfolds, I am able to make better sense of it. My paintings reflect this process, and the process enhances the paintings.

The starry realms are the Duat but include other realms too. My exploration in Soul Anatomy suggests that the different elements of the soul that we possess may interact with these realms in ways particular to that body / element, and I suspect grant access to same. How sharply the senses of any particular body are honed governs the level of perception in and of those realms. The goddess Nut Herself is these realms.

And I go through them
Sometimes consciously, sometimes otherwise. My recollections of these realms vary from stark and actual to dreamlike and subtle. I think my attraction to and use of black lining in my art is my attempt to concretize and capture these feelings and notions.
My journeys usually occur in sleep, meditation, the float pod and when I have enhanced my olfactory sense with certain essential oils.

My leopard skin is on me
The leopard skin is the mantle of the shaman. I wonder if what we refer to as the Ancient Egyptian priesthood was actually a society or office of shamans? Shamanism  has been the subject of many books and films. The freedom of the wild that we equate shamanism with calls us in a way religion can’t.
The skin of the leopard is supposedly meant to represent the stars of said starry sky. Whether or not this is true, there is something about leopard print that enhances the shamanic process. Do you notice the abundance of leopard print wearing in our culture? Why does it “work” on some but not others? In ritual there is a difference noticeable when wearing and not wearing leopard print.

And my sceptre is in my hand
Another mantle of the shamanic / priest office, and another device that seems in and of itself to act as a key and opener into the dimensions beyond this one. The Ancients possessed a number of ritual staffs, and I assume that they all had a different function. The uas sceptre seems to be the most common one when viewing images of the Netjeru from the ancient past. The figure in my painting holds a uas sceptre.

 3 types of blue
I have used two types of cerulean blue in the work. One on the skin figure held by Set, and the other surrounding the glyphs that form part of the wall decoration. 
Various metallics form the top half of the painting whilst the rest has a deep rose madder emphasis. The 3 glyphs chosen for the wall: akh, ka and sekhem have esoteric significance.
The 3rd blue is a new Pthalo Light colour from Golden Paints which I have also been using on another soon to be completed work. This colour is the tattoos that adorn the body of the blue figure, and where a god or goddess is represented tattooed is “beloved of” that deity. The deities featured in the tattoos are Set, Heru, Mehen, Nehebukau, Anpu, Wepwawet, Auset, NebetHt, Wadjet and Nekhbet.

The magickal and mystical story that the painting tells I will leave for the beholder to contemplate.

Monday, 30 April 2018

Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphs Of Quantum Light

In my artwork I incorporate Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs. As this has been my practice for a few years now, my curiosity around the medu (the name the ancients used for what we call hieroglyphs) has increased. 

I have taken some online courses to better my understanding of same. My interest is professional in that it applies to my art, but amateur as far as being unable to transliterate or translate glyphs (where I have incorporated hieroglyphic phrases and words into my art I commission professional Egyptologists to do so).

During a recent meditation session, the hieroglyph that Egyptology designates through Gardiner’s Sign List as X8 appeared. 

Hieroglyph X8 "di"

The sign represents the word “give” and is thought to show a conical loaf of bread. In the meditation it came through that a more accurate meaning is “to imbue”.

I was “given” this glyph as “a gift” with the message that the sign is in fact a representation of “light”. At first I was not surprised as there has been an explanation of this glyph being a “stylized flame”. But surely the Ancient’s would have rounded the sides of the triangle shape if this were the case?

I decided to ask a brainy quantum mechanics-oriented colleague, Frank Pollio, this question: “What would a mathematical or geometrical representation of light look like based on our current scientific understanding?” I wanted to see if this glyph showed up somehow.

Surprisingly, my colleague sent me this article from Cosmos Magazine in 2016 by Melbourne based journo Cathal O’Connell which featured the image below:

Photo credit: FUW from Cosmos Magazine - article cited above

It is a reconstruction of a raw image of light particles uncovered by a Polish team from the University Of Warsaw.

Taking just one of the 4 triangles it is not hard to see that the hieroglyph X8 does relate. Why the Ancients elongated the triangle tip I don’t know, but perhaps this will be revealed in time.

What is more curious for me was that the image of the four triangles facing in toward each other bares similarity to another glyph also, and it too relates to light! 

It is the glyph designated as Q7 which is thought to be a lamp and represents the words for flame, illumination and heat. Curiously, in the hieroglyphic representation the tip is elongated and in this case has a trailing tail.

Hieroglyph Q7 "Khet"

I find these instances of correlation fascinating. I have theories about other glyphs too, but the ones listed here are the ones that seem to have back up from science. 

Thanks go to Cathal O'Connell for his article and Frank Pollio for his research, as well as Dr. Charles Muses. 

Friday, 13 April 2018

The Unlikely Mystagogue

The Unlikely Mystagogue
Acrylic on wood panel
16" x 20"
April 2018

I created sketches 3 sketches last year that were each a variation on the theme evident in this painting The Unlikely Mystagogue. The resulting work is primarily the 2nd of those sketches but incorporates elements from each.

The sketches also inspired a script for a short film, which I rendered in storyboard form. The film was going to be a 4 minute film noir with animation overlays where a contemporary man, dissatisfied with lack of meaning in his world, finds meaning after being visited in a dream by 3 of the Kemetic time gods.

The Unlikely Mystagogue has more than a passing resemblance to my work from last year, Nehebukau And The Ocean Of Reassurance because both works refer to the same event and location, which is Sorrento Beach in Melbourne, Victoria.
The formation of 4 Netjeru in the foreground of the painting took various forms in the original sketches referred to above, however the result shown in the resulting work was inspired by the design of the pulpit in the church that I was taken to as a child growing up in Adelaide, South Australia. Image of pulpit can be found in this post from 2013.

The 4 deities featured are Nehebukau, Sekhmet, Set and Heru.

The Unlikely Mystagogue was completed in April 2018 and was the 2nd completed work post my exhibition earlier that year. It is acrylic on particle board, 16” x 20”.

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

A beginning, an end, a new painting and Ladytron

16" x 12"
Acrylic on hardboard panel
March 2018

The year has begun with an intensity that has shifted me along the path to wherever I am taking my art (or wherever it is taking me). It has been an exhilarating and at times fascinating ride!

As the entire first 5 weeks of the year were consumed with getting my exhibition ready, the metamorphosis occurred without much conscious attention from me. On the Saturday night of the exhibition event, a meditation revealed that a completion had occurred, and the "first phase" of my artistic journey was completed. The exhibition event itself was a full-stop marking the milestone, and in the meditation it was Khonsu who appeared.

I reflected on this days later in the wake of uninstalling the event, and finalizing all that came after. It occurred to me that it was Khonsu that appeared in a dream after my first visit to Egypt in 2010. This was the real beginning of my Kemetic journey.

Sometime during those days a dream unfolded that somehow consolidated the Saturday night meditation transmission, and I begun working on a sketch that bought together all 3 elements: the milestone of the exhibition, the initial appearance of Khonsu all those years ago, and the dream in the wake of the exhibition event. The painting Completion is the result of this, and is a great start to the new works that have begun since Neo Pharaonic was staged.

In the work, the Netjer Khonsu sits atop a cascade of mounds amongst a temple complex. Water can be seen coming from 3 sides. He emits divine rays from His hands in an act of exorcism, which is what the hieroglyphs say.

In the wake of this curious time, Ladytron have released their new single, The Animals, which also has a somewhat magical bearing on all of this.

I have noticed that Ladytron pops up as "markers" of various events of my life. They named an album that summed up a significant period in my life relating to my other (non - artistic) career (Gravity The Seducer), and released it at a time where said career was undergoing a major transition. I bought that cd in a shop that is now the actual location of my current work place, and think about that every time I use that particular area where the cash register used to be. That album was the last studio album before their long hiatus and not long after its release I recommenced my painting career. The new single is their first in 7 years.

Velocifero is the first album of theirs that I bought and turned me on to them, and marked another significant period -  moving back to Australia and living in Melbourne again. I always think about the time I had settling back in after living overseas for so long and how much that album anchored me  and helped me feel settled.

I created significant paintings listening to Helen Marnie's Crystal World and then Strange Words And Weird Wars during the group's hiatus. The latter cd was my most listened to record in 2017 (along with Blondie's Pollinator).

The new single is brilliant. I played it some 40 times in the first week of release. It is the most perfect comeback song for the group that I could imagine. The title also relates to my new painting featured in this post, although the meaning conveyed in the song is different to the meaning in the painting.

Here is to new art, Netjer, and new beginnings.

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Memorial I, II, and III: a triptych honouring the tomb of David Syme by Walter Butler

The paintings represent 3 dimensions of my understanding and interaction with the monument, each with its own theme, as suggested by the subtitle after each one.

Memorial I: Alternate Past

Memorial I: An Alternate Past speculates on the nature of the burial vault of the monument (which is hidden) as well as if the structure had been built post the discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb which came 12 years later. It's element is the Duat.

Memorial II: Reason

Memorial II: Reason addresses the monument's function beyond what appears apparent. Its element is the Sky.

Memorial III: Legacy

Memorial III: Legacy speaks to the legacy Mr. Syme left behind and his impact on Melbourne as a city and culture.

The Memorial triptych is a reinterpretation and re-imagining of the monument designed by Walter Richmond Butler (1864 - 1949). Butler was one of Melbourne's most celebrated architects famous for his contribution to the Arts And Crafts architectural movement. His re-imagining of Trajan's Kiosk on Philae (Pilak) island in Egypt is surely one of the most spectacular Egyptianizing monuments of the modern era. The design and structure of the monument are represented across all 3 paintings featuring all 14 capitals, views from every side, above, and an imagining of the burial vault within, the only part of the monument not visible to the public.

It is also a tribute to David Syme and a salute to one of the most interesting and intriguing figures from colonial era Victoria. I could not paint such a series of works without investigation into the life and legacy of this man, and my paintings reflect this.

Significantly from my point of view as an artist concerned with the re manifestation of all things Ancient Egyptian today is the spiritual element that the monument conveys. Egyptomania had already emerged as a thing in the time that the monument was created, but it was only a trickle of the tidal wave it was bound to become a few years later. This memorial surely was - and is - a major homage to those Egyptianizing trends, as well as the information that was being uncovered about Ancient Egyptian religion and spirituality that was only just beginning to be understood thanks to the cracking of the hieroglyphic code in then recent history. As mentioned, the monument was erected some 12 years before the discovery of King Tutankhamun's tomb, which was when Egyptomania really came into vogue.

The artist will donate a significant portion of funds from sale of this work to having the monument  -which is heritage listed - restored.

The Memorial Triptych was completed in February 2018 in time for my debut exhibition, Neo Pharaonic.