Date of Award

12-2008

Level of Access

Campus-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Liberal Studies

Advisor

Andy (Andrea) L. Mauery

Second Committee Member

Tina Passman

Third Committee Member

Michael H. Lewis

Abstract

The goal of my work for the MALS degree was to bridge two disciplines, that of me as an artist and of me as a yoga practitioner. The goal of yoga practice is to still the chattering mind so that one can move beyond ego into union with the divine. By focusing on Fine Art (Sculpture) and Spirituality (study of Mandalas), my goal as an artist was to bring the sacred into everyday reality. The bhupur (outer periphery) of the Mandala separates the mundane world from the sacred space within, where one begins the journey to the center. Ironically, while working on Mandalas, inner imagery demanded inclusion of a third discipline, Painting ("Outside the Flow of Time"). Concentrating on the ever changing play of light in nature while painting became a meditation in itself ("Moonrise at Sunset," "Standing on the Shore of Now"). My first question was: could my spiritual discipline be a source of artistic inspiration? The answer is YES. Occasionally, as with the sculptural pieces "What's the Message" and "Reflecting on the Nature of Embedded," inspiration came from exterior circumstances (my youngest son was in Iraq). Progressively, more inspiration came from within: "Prana" (Breath) - embodying the female vessel and "In the Beginning We Are All One" - entering the ovum symbolizes "being at one with your divine Self. Some works arose from dreams or visions ("Nila Mukta"), while others ("Egg," "Centering," Mandalas) were pivotal in honing the spiritual focus of my work. A second question was whether creating art could be healing. For me it was. People of all religions ask "After the pursuits for wealth and desires are fulfilled, then what?" Concurrently with my MALS studies, I undertook three courses/ experiences off campus: 1) Graduate level Yoga Teacher Training, Mt. Madonna Center, CA; 2) "Labyrinth: Walking a Sacred Path" in Notre Dame Cathedral, Chartres, France; and 3) Pilgrimage to Kedamath, India. These experiences, together with LIB 500 courses on "Ethics of Care" and "Sociology of Religion," plus "Sustainable Sculpture," helped me realize art does indeed have a healing function in community, and it is influenced by the intention of the artist. An added revelation was finding voice as a female artist, with connections to the sacred divine ("Shri Lakshmi Mandala" and "Beyond Fear"). Being fully present ("Bookends of NOW"), responding with art to heal ("Wilson") and opening up to my critiques inspired: "Egg", readings on Hiranyagarbha (Cosmic Egg), creation of the "Egg Series," and ultimately, "Universal Principles," which put the entire body of my work into perspective. A strong desire to be in balance with nature inspired the series of work with recycled shingles. Painting Mandalas and constructing "Egg of Summer Solstice" defined the final gesture: creating sacred space. Through the sacred, we are all ONE.

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