SPIRIT OF PLACE • THE AFTERCULTURE • CELTIC BLESSINGS
Spirit of Place
SPIRIT OF PLACE is the culmination of an artistic vision that Michael has explored over thirty years. It honors the ethos—the spirit of place—of the artist’s home in the rolling hills of the Brandywine Valley, with its Quaker roots, its rich, agrarian heritage and the iconic folk art of the Pennsylvania Dutch barn signs.
Michael draws on the deepest source of his inspiration from the ideals of Sufism, a way of life that exalts the “divine universality of the heart in every creation.”
And his art naturally follows the ancient Japanese aesthetic principle of Wabi-Sabi with its appreciation for natural, humble materials.
The art in this series is mixed media with weathered wood, mirrors, acrylic paint and gold leaf. It often includes the image of the heart. In Sufism, the human heart has the potential to be a place of separation, of hate and hurt, doubt and suspicion or it can be heaven on earth, a place that is empty of self and filled with love and empathy. Michael captures the ideal of the heart filled with love.
To know the spirit of a place is to realize that you are a part of a part and that the whole is made or parts, each of which in a whole. You start with the part you are whole in.
If an object or expression can bring about, within us, a sense of serene melancholy and a spiritual longing, then that object could be said to be wabi-sabi. Wabi-sabi is an intuitive appreciation of a transient beauty in the physical world that reflects the irreversible flow of life in the spiritual world. It is an understated beauty that exists in the modest, rustic, imperfect, or even decayed, an aesthetic sensibility that finds a melancholic beauty in the impermanence of all things.
Note from Michael Green . . .
I have always loved the twining grace of Celtic Art, particularly the gospel art of the Book of Kells created by Irish monks around the year 800 on the isle of Iona. A few years ago I became aware of a growing, wider interest in this ancient culture. Celtic twinings had become iconic symbols of a new spirituality–and Celtic music was experiencing a bloom in popularity.
The ancient Celtic tradition is in many ways akin to the "New Age" spiritual vision now taking root in the modern world. Celtic art was grounded in a deep love of the natural world, and drew from its organic patterns an intoxicating, twining intricacy. And, like our evolving vision, Celtic culture seemed to have been remarkably at ease embracing new sources. of wisdom
For some time I had been illuminating the poetry of Rumi for a yearly calendar. It was the time, I felt, to do a calendar of Celtic Art. I wanted it to celebrate both the ancient mysticism of those Irish monks, and at the same time speak to the evolving sensibilities of contemporary seekers. I evolved a style that integrated my own artwork with actual samples from the Book of Kells. This sampling blessed the work with a powerful resonance–a direct link to a vital ancient mysticism.
The calendar was an immediate best-seller, and generated many requests for the art. This exhibit is the response. An important element is that it will continue the tradition of illumination that inspired the calendars: Art as an illumination of an insight. In the Book of Kells, it was the Holy Gospels, here the insights come from wider sources, and are short meditations framed and displayed next to the art.