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Visionary Salon Workshop featuring Mark Henson
ONLINE REGISTRATION CLOSED : TICKETS STILL AVAILABLE AT DOOR
Visionary Salon with Mark Henson
Saturday, November 9th, 2013 8 - 10pm (doors at 7:30)
Workshop+Visionary Salon Presentation Admission - $50 Online/$55 at the door
Visionary Salon Presentation Admission - $10 Online/$15 at the Door (click here)
Occupy Your Art Workshop
As Artists we are given the special ability to visualize and bring forth imagery depicting our ideal world view, but we must empower ourselves to do so. We will discuss overt artistic repression and censorship, and then share our thoughts on personal self- censorship in a fear- ridden culture, and how to overcome those fears so that we can liberate our art and bring forth our most powerful and magical visions. We will have a more formal slide lecture/ discussion for the first part of the playshop, and in the latter part we can break out our canvases or drawing pads and create while talking and sharing.
While I tend to be a down-to -earth person, when activating my creative energies I begin by looking deeply within myself, and seek to express what I may find waiting there. My sincere wish is to tap into the Divine Source of Being, to Consciousness, to Spirit, or whatever you may call it- that place where existence comes from, and to bring into visual reality images manifesting the knowledge revealed while in this presence. Strangely enough, I have discovered that the more intensely personal my vision is, the more widely it resonates when presented to the world.
Snail Logic, by Mark Henson
Reveiw of Mark's Work:
A Catalyst for Consciousness'
Conventional wisdom holds that a picture is worth a thousand words. By that reckoning, Mark Henson's huge, vibrant, elaborately detailed paintings -- some as large as 9 feet wide by 4 feet high and weighing up to 100 pounds -- can be read as whole volumes of history and prophecy.
Working with a wide range of political, spiritual and mythological themes, Henson defies stylistic description and creates “narrative artwork” that explores humanity's relationship with the universe. Heavily influenced by the social and political upheaval of the 1960s, his paintings reflect a deep reverence for nature and a complex understanding of man's place in the world.
”I believe that art can have the ability to catalyze social and cultural changes,” Henson writes in a statement on his website. “Art has the magical power to evoke emotional as well as intellectual thinking. Realizing this, my desire as an artist is to create compelling images of beauty and power that serve to promote our conscious evolution as human beings and to show us how to live in a peaceful world. To this end I like to explore and present images with themes of awakening consciousness, divine sexuality, political realities and living in harmony with nature.”
Henson says it is the job of artists to be interpreters and shapers of culture.I look at art as a culture seed,” said Henson in a phone interview. “When creative people express a message in a clear enough way that it resonates with the public, cultural change occurs. Artists and musicians are on the cutting edge of doing that quickly, without having to write volumes of material. If an image is presented properly, people across the world and throughout time can see it and get an inkling and an emotional feeling of what it's all about.”
The second of eight children, Henson was drawn to visual expression early in life and by kindergarten he said had been “labeled” an artist. His parents encouraged his gift and his talent blossomed in high school under the direction of art and drama teachers who gave him space to explore subjects he felt passionate about. He says he had a “moment of epiphany” when he realized that the inspiration for his work wouldn't come from studying the great artists of history or trying to emulate a certain style.
Gene Pool, by Mark Henson
”It dawned on me that the really great artists didn't contemplate old masterpieces or do things based on what others did, they just did what was in their hearts. I learned to look inside myself for inspiration,” Henson said. “My inner voice told me to be bold and not worry about what people would think. Strangely enough, I have discovered that the more intensely personal my vision is, the more universal its message when presented to the world.”
Some of his paintings exhibit the “intensely personal” qualities of dreams or nightmares -- and like those experiences, the pieces seem to tap into subconscious archetypes that give them great power to influence emotion. His painting “March of Progress,” for instance, depicts hundreds of creatures fleeing from the advancing behemoth of technological progress: a ravenous monster spewing smoke and pollution that threatens to destroy everything in its path. It is a disturbing, emotionally powerful image that resonates strongly with current themes of ecological distress and capitalism run amok.
The strong political themes in his paintings have offended some viewers, but Henson said that he gets far more compliments than complaints.
”The first time I put up 'Sharing the Wealth,' (which depicts a wealthy man tossing away a hamburger as a starving woman collapses in the street) the first person who saw it said it should be taken away and burned,” Henson recalled. “But the overwhelming reaction has been positive. I love when someone from India or Africa sees it and thanks me for understanding. It's very gratifying when my work moves people, even if it moves them to anger or tears. At least I know I'm reaching them on some level.”
Henson's work also features frank depictions of the human body that some have found offensive, but according to his wife, Monti Moore, his goal is to depict sexuality in a positive way: as a natural expression of human nature.
”Mark's sense of eroticism expresses itself in a less voyeuristic and more spiritual way than most art associated with human passion,” Moore writes in a commentary on Henson's website. “He is more interested in the merging of souls than the merging of organs. It is his lifetime, self-ordained duty to create a body of work that is filled with positive imagery surrounding lovemaking in a culture where sex is often associated with exploitation, violence and abuse. He sees the merging of souls as the manifestation of the cosmic design inherent in all living things.”
One of Henson's more recent paintings, “New Pioneers,” is an example of the sort of cultural change he hopes to inspire through his art. The left side of the painting shows a wrecked and burning civilization torn apart by war and a steady stream of refugees seeking a way out. In the center, a man stands before a tree reading a hieroglyphic map to a different way of life, and on the right is an agrarian society that has found ways to coexist with nature instead of attempting to dominate it. The vision is both harrowing and hopeful, much like the world it reflects.
”I was trying to show in 'New Pioneers' a situation we could create this very day if we chose to,” Henson said. “We choose to be at war collectively. We voted for the politicians, we spent the money: We let this happen. But now people are voting for something different and they are voting by action, voting with their feet. A lot of people want to walk away from this world and make something more to our liking.”
Henson cited the “occupy” protests currently sweeping the country as an example of this process.
”I think their hearts are in the right place, even if they haven't had a lot of hard core life experience yet. While people have been in 'lala land' learning about themselves and being young and exploring, the oppressive powers have been using that as an opportunity to pull off a big scam,” said Henson. “I think the kids have finally woken up to the fact that they got screwed as far as the future goes.”
While he acknowledges that there are monumental problems facing modern society, Henson remains hopeful that humanity can solve them if enough people become conscious that other choices are possible.
Restoring the Future, by Mark Henson
”When there is a crisis facing a nation or tribe people forget their individual worries in order to solve the problem. Heretofore the powers-that-be have been focused on growth and profit. When the whole world hadn't been exploited and there were resources all around we had more options, but now we're starting to realize that we have a finite amount of air, water and food. The 7 billionth person was born today,” Henson said on Monday, “and there are common problems facing us all that transcend race, religion and culture. One of the things that inspires me is the question 'Can art change the world?' Being creative is my form of being a political activist and that is my highest and best call. I want to come up with the imagery that gives people something to rally around and helps them visualize a better world.”
The CoSM Store and the Mushroom Cafe will be open.
Rooms are available for rent in Grey House, CoSM's fully renovated Visionary Victorian guest house.
The artwork of Alex Grey & Allyson Grey plus many other visionary artists are on display in the guest house.
CoSM, Chapel of Sacred Mirrors, 46 Deer Hill Road, Wappingers Falls, NY 12590 click here for directions
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