Sunday, April 24, 2011

New Beginnings, The Sea of Grace, and Elif Shafak

Dear Reader,

This blog, The Interwoven Heart, is launched today to give voice to a deep, deliberate new direction in my writings, and visual work. More paintings, drawings, and performances exploring the nature of being and existence will follow. My studio is electric; a paroxysm of redirected creative juice.

Today I introduce two new pieces since ending my 7-1/2 year collaborative artist project, Hand to Hand.

The first is Interwoven Hearts, the signature drawing for this blog-18 1/2 " x 22 1/4", charcoal and pastel on paper

The second is The Sea of Grace, 51" x 78 1/4", acrylic, oil, charcoal, and pastel on silk mounted to canvas.

In The Forty Rules of Love, (2010)

the Turkish novelist Elif Shafak speaks to the reader about the mystical aspects of deep love. More than a romantic sentiment, Love according to the "Rules" underpins the universe. Love is the interlacing pattern that defines God. The Forty Rules describe a path of human interaction toward this cosmic essence. In the novel we follow the spiritual awakening of a housewife in Northampton, Massachusetts in 21st century America, trapped in a self-spun cocoon of fear. In a parallel story, destined to connect, we experience the cracking open of the poetic exuberance of Rumi, the 13th century Turkish poet and Sufi mystic under the guidance of the wandering dervish Shams of Tabriz who passes on to him the Rules of Love. This novel provides a possible framework for seeing the connections within my drawing, Interwoven Hearts.

Shafak’s earlier novel, The Gaze (1999)

is a time traveling trip into the quirky world of deep seeing, surface appearance and inner space. The eye is the instrument of memory. Seeing is being. Staring creates distance, distortion and disconnection. The story centers on an unnamed fat girl and her lover, the dwarf B-C. Together they seek to create a new universe by upending the rules of gazing. B-C creates The Dictionary of Gazes that twists time and enables looking, to see the invisible. The girl moves within the world inside their Turkish apartment where she is safe, and outside in the land of body and appearance. Their story parallels a different tale of a bizarre freakshow in the late 19th century, where a segregated male and female audience witnesses a gender-defined spectacle in a tent on a hill outside of Istanbul. My painting, The Sea of Grace, lives within a similar layered landscape of inner and outer being, invaded in this instance by tiny roses sliding into view as a cosmic gift of Grace.