I began this series of collages shortly after the death of both of my parents three days apart from one another. I intuitively sought healing through art therapy using symbolism. I had originally made a few as examples for my students in a college class I taught, "An Introduction to Depth Psychology."
I found in my therapy practice a tendency for clients to present certain recurrent motifs, such as black holes, "blacker than black," tunnels, images of chaotic breakdown, etc. Prior, I had been writing a book called Dreamhealing on Asklepian dream healing, a technique developed around the metaphors of the science of Chaos Theory. In this deepening process, you become each element the imagination presents in turn. Immersed in this model, I sought to express visual images which express this process.
The posters are gestalts--where all elements are co-temporaneous, existing in time holographically--presented together even though they image a dynamic process. Each of them constitutes a shamanic dream journey -- a fvirtual reality experience in the inner world.
None of them were contrived beforehand--all were emergent experiences of letting the image work themselves. No theme was determined in advance. The posters themselves dictate some of what must happen on them. In order for them to appear seamless, I had to hide or disguise the seams in various fashions. Yes, sometimes "less is more," but most often more was needed to insure a seamless quality. This was not a project where minimalism even could prevail.
Part of the burden and joy of working in this medium is using what one has, or can find, what is spontaneously available. Jungian psychology uses the notion of the bricoleur, the craftsman who works with that which is at hand. This includes the psychologial situation as well as the materials. My grief work accentuated the death-rebirth motif which is ubiquitous in therapy in any case.
In their formative stages, the elements were not fixed on the canvas, and sometimes due to electrostatics, heat, and gravity "things moved of their own accord." Almost invariably, this was an improvement over any intuitive or deliberate placement I might have made. So, it was a process of flowing with the animating process, rather than dictating the process.
Later, they organized themselves into larger groups. There were obvious thematic connections for some of them, but others were not so obvious until there were hundreds of them. Their order has no relationship to the time of assembly. I have never re-sorted them, but for some reason the over-all story of the text for each leads seamlessly into the next, providing a narrative stream. The text for each piece suggested itself long after completion through a recognition process, or sometimes immediately by synchronicity. They assembled themselves and with one another by a process I can only describe as "synarchy."
The awesome pandaemonium of imagery flowed forth spontaneously and my ego could not fight its way free. Rather, I had to surrender to the forces that oftten crossed my subjective will. I was a slave to the process for some time, producing several pieces a week for long periods of time, and sometimes even doing more than one per day. The mystery images are a compelling source of transformation and healing, and it worked! The physician healed herself, or rather opened to the inner healer and let time take care of the rest.
[The poster originals are 24 x 36, and are assembled completely by hand. No computer enhancement has been used on any of them. All were done between 1994 and 1999.]