THE CLOUD OF UNKNOWING
Paintings on Synthetic paper that explore the metaphysical connections of blood and body, water and clouds.
This series is focused on multiple symbolisms of water and blood. The Cloud of Unknowing is an anonymous medieval work of literature on early mysticism. I use the book as an entry point to visually interpret a struggle through humanness to enter a place beyond knowledge and release oneself to deep mystery.
Water and Blood: Two endlessly deep symbols that call an undeniable connection to the spirit world. In the series The Cloud of Unknowing I use the specific color symbology of red and blue to create images in Jungian archetypical shapes to draw connections between the visible and invisible world. The series is concerned with the metaphor of the cloud, the synechdoche of blood and the swirling invocation of the spirit world through the juxtaposition of blood as a symbol for living humanity and water as a more complex symbol of invisible supernatural spiritual forces. My interest lays here: What is completely invisible, definitely real, and which the existence is only known by experience?
Clouds: Garua is a weather phenomenon in the southern hemisphere in and near rainforest biomes. The word “garua” can mean many different kinds of precipitation but I am primarily interested in it’s existence as a low hanging super dense fog cloud which poses no visibility barriers (it is completely transparent and invisible) but will totally soak anything that enters it. It is actually light rain falling from the sky rather than fog. Usually happens in winter, on grey cold days and it has been associated with melancholy and sadness. The garua is completely invisible, definitely real, and can only be known to exist by experience.
The Cloud of Unknowing is an anonymous medieval work written in Middle English about early Christian mysticism. It’s a kind of instruction manual for contemplative prayer. The text suggest that the only way to experience God is by abandoning all precepts of God and the “enter the cloud of unknowing” wherein by the courageous surrender to complete mystery one might transcend. The book uses the metaphor of the cloud as place between Earth and Heaven again and again to demonstrate the only chance at a mystical experience.
Blood: Blood within us is invisible, but it serves as a life force. There is an urban legend I am particularly devoted to: Blood void of iron inside of a human traveling back to the heart is blue, but when it comes into contact with oxygen it immediately turns red. This is not true. Blood inside of us is a deeper red when it is void of oxygen but our blood is never blue. However I am deeply interested in the wide spread belief that inside of us is a kind of blood we can never see, because to see it would supposedly expose it to oxygen and immediately turn it red.
Blood has too many spiritual ties to list but I am particularly interested in how blood is both deeply physical and yet it has this profound history as a possessing supernatural power. It is a liquid that people drink: an occult and mainstream practice.
As much as color, shape leans into the conceptual nature of the work. I use Jungian psychology and the concept of archetypical symbols and shapes. The rectangle (windows as I call them), the pillar, the orb, the loop, the tear drop, and the slump are each symbols that are meant to evoke their own primal associations with the viewer.