I am an emerging sculptor and land artist, driven by a desire to highlight beauty in the world. After almost 20 years as a dental surgeon in private practice, due to an injury, I undertook tertiary study in Fine Arts specialising in sculpture. The last years were spent researching into fire as a method of visual expression, culminating with a Master of Fine Arts (UNSW) in 2013. My practice currently utilises the media of timber and bronze but is open to many other materials, including the continuation of the exploration of fire works. Thematically, I have recently been pursuing research into the history and contemporary implications of the life and writing of St. Francis of Assisi.Realisation of this has taken material form, as commissions, residency work, and many group and solo shows and award in the 2017 Florence Biennale.
Dialogue regarding our spiritual nature has been on the receiving end of much negativity over many years in Western society and culture. This is disappointing as I firmly believe we are made equally of both physical and non-physical (spiritual) characteristics. Denying or ignoring either part of our character can only lead to a life out of balance. Two significant factors we must address to restore proper conversation:
• A general fixation on the ‘logical’ physical world immediately in front of us - a symptom of the ever increasingly materialistic society which we dwell within.
• To a lesser extent, the increasing volume of what has been dubbed ‘the lunatic fringe’, resulting in many discussions trivialized and dismissed.
Effective discourse and some understanding of our non-physical side are not just essential for our well-being, but for society as a whole.
It is a pleasure to be part of such an exhibition as this, exploring from different points of view the non-physical worldview – seeking to re-establish a constructive dialogue and redress that unseen imbalance in our contemporary culture.
-Keith Chidzey, Visual Artist
Artist Introduction & Spirit
Hi, I’m Sue Bishop. I am the Director of The Chiara College of Metaphysics and specialise in teaching psychic, spiritual and personal development, as well as doing psychic consultations. I am also the author of ‘Sixth Sense’ (Allen & Unwin 2011) and ‘Psychic Kids (Allen & Unwin 2012). Working in the field of metaphysics has naturally drawn me into the endlessly fascinating realm of Spirit. Sometimes I feel I am a nexus between two worlds – the physical and the spiritual – and it is from this standpoint that I like to express my art. For me, everything comes down to Spirit. Our energy is spirit, our world is imbued with spirit, so it is a natural extension for me to work themes of spirit and the spirit world, and our own spirituality into my art.
Statement about Series of Work
When I think about spirituality the first thing that comes to mine is the word, ‘interconnected’. For me, spirituality is a state of being that allows you to feel the all-encompassing interconnectedness of life.
Spirituality is a state of awareness that emerges from the introspective search for inner truth and is later expressed through a sense of divinity. This is the metaphysical journey of the soul – its progressive evolution from the base egoic consciousness that projects the ‘I’ consciousness, which is wrapped within the confines of needing to experience reality from a, ‘me’ perspective, and moving into universal consciousness. The lower self gives way to the higher self, the part of us that is all loving, all knowing, and the higher self gives way to the universal self, the part of us that connects to our higher spirit that is in the astral. From a state of separateness into a state of connectedness. It is the unfolding desire to become to one with, ‘All that Is’.
Personally, I see spirituality is a fluid medium that allows my soul to transcend the boundaries of the physical world. It helps me to cross the threshold of other worlds so my soul can interact with spirit beings from different dimensions who can help me to further expand my consciousness, but, more importantly, allow that highest part of me, my universal self, to interact with an evolving and intelligent cosmos.
I see my spirituality as an evolving state of awareness. As I evolve, I help those around me to evolve. My soul touches other souls; other souls touch me. It’s a never ending story of consciousness that seeks to connect with all things in this brilliant multi-verse we live in.
In my series of paintings for this, ‘Elemental’ exhibition I wanted to explore spirituality at a number of levels, embracing themes of life and death, transformation and rebirthing. The death of a cousin inspired me to bring in the transformative elements of death and rebirth, a cycle I see everywhere. For birth to happen there first must be the death of the old. I see this in nature with the changing seasons. Our soul can only evolve by purging and destroying what no longer serves it…transmutation is the path to transformation. Breaking through the limits of our 3D reality by allowing spirits from other planes of existence to teach us, destroys outdated old ideas and beliefs and gives birth to new realities. Interwoven through this soul journey is the awakening to a deeper interconnectedness of things from archetypal energies, planetary forces, elemental forces and spirit forces.
I hope my paintings open a dialogue on the nature of reality and connectedness, and helps inspire them to look at transformation with new eyes.
- Sue Bishop, Visual Artist, Writer & Teacher
Artist Introduction & Spiritual Journey
Since the early 1980’s my artistic practice has been an inspiring journey of learning about and creating artworks that explore our subjectivity from metaphysical and esoteric perspectives. It is human nature for each of us to think about our existence and try to make sense of who and what we are. How do we reconcile the physical and private aspects of our being with our actions that are exposed and often scrutinised by others? At the centre of my work is a philosophical concept of “self”. In my imagination the self is a duality; a detached observer of its body that is motivated by desire. The themes and artworks of my exhibitions and publications for that past 30 years express my research and interpretations of this construct of “self”. Over the last decade in particular, I have been creating art objects which are heavily influenced by positive psychology, art therapy and eastern philosophy. I maintain a steady output of painting and writing and am becoming increasingly engaged in promoting my art through social networks. From my studio in Dural, NSW, I strive to create artworks that have been purposefully designed to illustrate my research and to arouse and inspire positive associations and emotional wellbeing in those who view and commission my work.
Artist Statement - Current Work on Show
'I have always been interested in the dynamic forces and influences that have shaped who we are today while forming the unique person we are still becoming. This group of paintings, which I have titled “The Pilgrim’s Way”, illustrates our desire to understand who we are through the lens of a spiritual journey. The figures in these paintings are individual seekers who journey together as pilgrims on a path towards a preconceived place of fulfilment.
While the pilgrims collectively seek knowledge, they individually walk a different path to acquire it. Many believe that there is likely to be an endpoint or conclusion to a spiritual journey; I will “arrive”; I will “see”; I will “decide”; I now understand “who I am”. While the paintings in this series do not offer any answers, they each reflect on the subjective power of a spiritual journey that is evolving what is the effect of “self”. Many of the painted surfaces for this exhibition include media such as gold leaf, crushed lapis lazuli, mica flakes and various other minerals. I love to include these precious minerals and metals as I feel that I am giving the painting a greater presence and creating a connection to the earth and nature. The walking figures, the dancing groups, the path and the symbol of the Tree of Life create a visual stage where we can observe and reflect on the journey each individual is taking while recognising that they are part of a much larger and profound journey.
I try to create a sense of quiet stillness in my work. Each painting attempts to capture the silence of an open field by a river at early morning or at dusk. My hope is that as a viewer is approaching one of my paintings, they will hesitate for a moment before realising that the composition of linear gestures exists in a familiar landscape but on an unfamiliar plane. While this experience will initially trigger a range of questions, the observer is drawn into the subject matter and slowly connects with the peace and tranquillity of the scene. They will see themselves in the work and recognise that we are all seeking something and that we each attract our own path to journey.
- Stevon Orlando, Visual Artist & Teacher
Erin Kathleen Muir
Artist Introduction & the Spiritual Journey
The role of energy, holism and connection play a strong role in my current work across media. Navigating through process, I have collected and reflected on the nature of my Empathy as an intuitive. My process has a focus on the qualities of personal practice, where understanding becomes significant. For me soul awareness evolves as a continuous energy, with a fluid negotiation of what it means to connect. Works in 'Elements' surface that navigation through watercolour, written reflection, energy responses, installation and large charcoal portraits of individuals now in spirit and with family.
Erin studied Fine Arts and Art Education at UNSW (COFA) as well as classical drawing and painting at Julian Ashton Art School. Studies more recently have included Metaphysics, Healing modalities & Art Therapy, with 11 years teaching Art and Design across all ages in Schools, Community and Museum Education.
Practicing Art and Creative Arts teaching led to developing Sienna Art Space in 2015. The Art School is one of the leading community hubs in Sydney teaching Fine Arts practice, with Holistic Arts programs and Sapphire's Light now an important aspect to healing and creativity.
Statement on Process & Evolving Conceptions of Creativity
My Art isn’t just a creative lens for exploration of Spiritual Mindedness and belief setting for audience awareness in this exhibition, it’s more driven by an evolving self in the energy through ‘soul work’. I started out wanting to create more Charcoal Portraits, with respect for the connection of Spirit and families, but I’ve actually worked more on building on my relationships across more direct work, deconstructed dialogues and looking at the relationship to my own growth across healing. The therapeutic is actually in the learned requirement of Art Therapist & Vibrational Healing-Empath, looking at the role of channeling with audient and cross-skilling, and de-emphasising the role of psychology, giving relevance to dual-aspect for the needs-and-counselling of spirit beings, spirit loved ones, as I passage through my own growing understanding and them offering equal support and advise. All of my works have giving- honesty, a personal framework sometimes misunderstood for a naïve longing to be heard or supported. In the thick of my Empathy, that is fluid terrain, I’ve always found resilience and a survivalist ‘happy nature’. The propelling engine of some works is actually ‘teaching-energy’
( Spirit and Intuitive teachers), and a soul-yearning to surface the qualities of experience of one kind of Intuitive functioning across planes, dissolving debris quietly and energetically with art and holistic healing. I am also navigating interesting terrain whereby ‘empathic channel’ surfaces an insight into how creativity may be understood – with co-relation, entanglement, and coalescing energy from other people on the physical plane.
Creativity is at the heart of Spirituality, as is our navigation responses with human-centred relationships – the self, sub-cultural and more collective dynamics ‘in’ the diversity. As an Empath I experience the ‘spaces’ of others and some of my work picks up on that consciousness, acknowledging past-life awareness and guides all with cultural heritage and energy vibrations evolving with individual, collective experiences. I look forward to developing more work in that cross-cultural awareness, giving sensitivity to both traditional stream and union, as well as cross-referential qualities as common-ground.
- Erin Kathleen Muir, Visual Artist, Art Director & Art School Teacher