The ultimate adventure, when all the barriers and ogres have been overcome, is commonly represented as a marriage of the triumphant hero-soul with the Queen Goddess of the world. This is the crisis at the nadir, the zenith, or at the uttermost edge of the earth, at the central point of the cosmos, in the tabernacle of the temple or within the darkness of the deepst chamber of the heart.
Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces.
Meeting with the Goddesses is a chapter title I have taken from Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces, as this body of work deals with several themes centred around the sacred feminine, mythology, the archetypal mind, temples and funerary objects. The first is the theme of the mystery of life, and as part of that mystery, the search for meaning embodied by the notion of goddesses—a single or multiple “source of all things.” I am interested in the spiritual process of asking the source/creator in order to manifest creation—whether this be an abundant harvest or victory in war. It is difficult to remove spirituality and explorations of the divine from the formal strictures and mandates of religion; thus, another theme explored in the exhibition will be the dualities of creation and destruction that are part of our concept of the divine, and which are exercised by human beings in the practice of religion. Many goddesses have creative and destructive powers. These are embodied in the terrible fury of the god of War, the life-giving fecundity of ancient Venus figurines, the breathtaking and abundant tableaux of life forms in cave drawings, depictions of human sacrifice or works that honor and venerate the First Nations, Celtic, Nordic, and Greek goddesses.
Walking into the exhibit space will give the observer the experience of walking into a kind of temple celebrating the feminine goddesses of antiquity, but the subjects I will be painting are present day living people who in my view, reflect the characteristics of these ancient archetypes in a contemporary society. The aim of this work is to investigate the dichotomy between the sexes and address the reality of male dominance (patriarchy) in order to make a shift in attitudes, which in turn will balance the masculine and feminine. In a time of social disorder and imbalance, this work explores the feminine and celebrates that shift in order to bring about a consciousness we have lost from the ancients. It would seem that our present construct is failing and that the world’s disorder reflects an imbalance that is destroying the very essence of life. Irish poet W.B. Yeats’ poem The Second Coming comes to mind.
Turning and turning in the widening gyre The falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere The ceremony of innocence is drowned; The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity. Surely some revelation is at hand; Surley the Second Coming is at hand.
This exhibition is dedicated to my mother Joy MacLeod 1935-1977. « To Know her was to love her »