I realised that I already possessed some artwork, a painting which I produced several years ago on a short course in Visionary Art. I was interested in exploring the metaphorical significance of the images which had emerged. The painting was full of meaningful symbols in terms of my personal life at that time, and had been a helpful companion since then. Now I was in a position to revisit the picture with fresh eyes, and found that this was giving rise to even more possibilities and questions. I realised that, as well as looking at how an image emerges, I also needed to consider how the onlooker “reads” an image as symbol, and how meaning may arise from a completed piece of work when it is “out there” in the world.
Head bowed and intense,
Silently on golden shore
Who is she who sits?
Dark bird with fiery wing
Green man slumbering
Arching above her
Tree, bird, eye, breast, or sickle
Shelters or devours
On the golden shore
Place of liminality
Beyond the haven
Distant light; a new day dawns
Who is she who waits?
THE FLOOR SHOW OF THE GODS
Images display Witnessing our world
Branching possibilities; How do we identify,
Meanings multiply. Label what we see?
Enigmatic forms Which of us is right?
Foster fresh alternative What of commonality?
Ambiguities. How may we agree,
What do we perceive Share a point of view
As we gaze at neutral shapes? Live in a reality
What for us is true? Shaped by me and you?
Understand that truth
Lies beyond appearances,
Floor show of the gods?
The experience of presenting the creative portfolio has led me to a deeper understanding of many things. It has confirmed yet again that how we experience the world will depend upon our level of insight. As Plotinus and Ficino pointed out, literal thinking binds the soul to the material world, and shackles us to our illusions. (Voss, 2006, 23). Hillman (1983, 73) describes the act of painting an image or speaking with it in a poem as dulia, an act of service to the image. By revisiting and exploring this image, I hope that I have done so in the spirit of dulia, acting in service to the image and what it had to convey from a certain higher faculty of the soul. Overall, I trust that I have followed the advice of Versluis (2004, 19) in “allowing an imaginative process to take place within, exteriorising it through a work of art in which others can participate, and in that work projecting a mesocosmic creative realm in which we can recognise aspects of ourselves anew”.