Saturday, July 22, 2017

Seven Doors (Sandra Muss, Artist)

New York and Miami-based assemblage artist Sandra Muss's series Permutations begins with 19th Century industrial doors left scarred, worn, scratched, and etched by decades of factory life. Transformed by art, the doors become "gateways to other dimensions," says one of her gallerists. "They represent new experiences in life, both spiritual and emotional."

Door One: Water
(click on images for larger file)

In paintings, doors (like windows) can function almost like an analogue for the mysterious process of looking and making or viewing art itself. The door or portal is a potent archetype, an ancient symbol resonant with deep memories and dream logic associated with passage from one state to another, one dimension of being to another, the vault of the tomb that is also the womb, the womb that "drives in death as life leaks out," in Dylan Thomas's phrase ("a weather in the flesh and bone/Is damp and dry; the quick and dead/Move like two ghosts before the eye.")

Door Two: Bouquet

"Openings and spaces in her work connote possibility, the potential to enter into new realms and transcend quotidian experience," says her gallerist. "The artist weaves her insights learned from studying shamanism and Kabbalah into the work to create gateways to greater knowledge of the universe and one’s self."

Door Three: Underneath

Muss messes with (heh, couldn't help myself) oil, paint, photographs, and found materials like wood, metal, bird feathers, tortoise shells, flowers, horseshoes, building rubble, whale bones in the service of a sense of time and transformation. 

Door Four: Desert Meditation

"With these pieces, Muss reasserts herself as a visual alchemist who evokes the different pathways we take throughout our lives with her doors," wrote another. "Each door holds the potential to bring us love, growth, and life-transforming opportunities."

Door Five: Quarry Angel

The gate or door as archetype of initiation, "symbols of transformation" (for Jungians, all symbols are  about transformation, because they figure in the psychological "Hero's Journey" of self-individuation). The "quarry angel" is the sublime essence, the spiritual "philosopher's stone" that the artist as alchemist liberates from the prima materia, or base matter of life. Intense materiality creates the conditions for changing places, however faintly, with the divine.

Door Six: Floating

"If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear as it is: infinite." - William Blake

Door Seven: Shutter
Art should always be about transformation; it should shake us from slumber and carry news of our enormous potential. Art should lead us to the edge of being so that, again in the words of the Bard,

"taken by light in her arms at long and dear last [we] may without fail
Suffer the first vision that set fire to the stars." 

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