Edyth Maryon is best known for her work with Rudolf Steiner on the Representative of Humanity, the Group Sculpture with lucifer, Ahriman, and cosmic humor surrounding mim now in the 2nd Goetheanum,
Most of her art, if it were done today, might not be considered Anthroposophical art. There is a distinct Neoclassical look to her work much like neoclassicists s of the 19th century, and to a lesser extent, similar to the Symbolists and Art Nouveau. However, she was drawn to Steiner, as many European artists were in the early 20th century, and was profoundly influenced by him, so much so that she dedicated her life to work with him on his artistic endeavors. This is yet another instance of an artist educated in art prior to her encounter with Anthroposophy yet lending her talents to the movement. Anthroposophical insights into artistic practice is just as important as anthroposophical art as a style or movement. This is a longer discussion, one which for me goes back to a keen study of the group sculpture and Steiner’s writings and lectures, not only on art, but on other subjects as well. I tell my students, that art reflects all aspects of human endeavor as well as all perceiving human perspectives. Anthroposophical art, is no different in this respect. If a person trains oneself, one can look at any work of art, and not merely critique the work from the standpoint of Anthroposophical concepts but nay be able to perceive the human experience behind the work and in the work. Why are we drawn to become artists, and if we are also called to become Anthroposophists, what then is our task as an artist? How are the two related?
The first work I ever read of Owen Barfield’s was given to me by my second oldest sister who did not know of his connection to Anthroposophy. It was a collection of his essays. What i remember from the book, is his observations on television advertisements, equating , for one, Mr. Clean, and the Jolly Green Giant with spiritual beings. I consequently bought his book Poetic Diction. I did not know that he also painted. I found some of his paintings at OwenBarfield.org. What I found most interesting were the images shown above, representing the Intellectual Soul Quality – 1997, Sentient Soul Quality – 1998, Consciousness Soul Quality – 1999, and Imaginative Soul Quality – 2000. They also seem to relate to the 20th century color field movement.
I have seen Larry Young’s work on the internet for a while and on Anthroposophical publications. It was good to finally connect the art to the artist. I was especially interested in his responses to an interview with David Benner of Cascadia Living Wisdom. Speaking of his Anthroposophical mentor, he says:
“Larry: When Karl and I first met I was angry from the war and addicted to drugs and alcohol. Basically I was a big bully. But Karl’s bigger presence made me intensely self-conscious and aware of my own shortcomings for the first time in my life. When I finally realized that people respected me as an artist but had no respect for me as a human being I was led to an epiphany. It happened one night after I learned that all my friends were having a party and I hadn’t been invited. As I sat in my car in front of their house trying to decide whether to go in and make a scene or go home and sulk, a car pulled up behind me. Their headlights flashed in my rear view mirror and I glanced up. What I saw instead of my own reflection was a specter, an arrogant caricature of a human being. I broke down in tears. I had seen myself as others saw me.”
This resonated with me, not because our life stories are similar, but because his path to Anthroposophy, like my own, has been difficult. The rewards have balanced out the difficulties. Steiner’s admonition that for every step forward in ones own spiritual development, one necessarily must also develop character and compassion rings true. I am also interested in Larry’s Art because it is not strictly speaking, Anthroposophical art but echoes Anthroposophical Arts connection to modernism with attention to color and simple abstraction. Anthroposophy informs the art and maybe that does make it Anthroposophical art. There is no set cannon or definition. even artists steeped in anthroposophical concepts and experiences are left free.
“Born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1944, Larry’s early childhood was spent isolated in a cornfield in rural Tennessee, on the outskirts of Nashville. At the age of 21, Larry served in Vietnam, and then returned home to study illustration, and graphic design. It wasn’t until his 30s that Larry would encounter his mentor Karl Voster and would find his introduction to the work of Rudolf Steiner. This encounter would change Larry Young’s life and immerse him in an ongoing exploration of spiritual science and art.
As a painter, Larry’s work is an exploration into the subtle dynamics of color following the artistic teachings of Rudolf Steiner. His paintings use narrative allegory and the human face to reveal inner human struggles, at once deeply personal and universally applicable.
Larry spent nine years working as a teacher at the Green Meadow Waldorf School in New York where he developed and refined the high school art curriculum based on the four-year unfolding of the adolescent body, soul, and spirit. He has led drawing, painting, and sculpture workshops, and taught courses on the role of art in community building: “The New Basics,” “The Four Temperaments,” “Art and Human Consciousness,” and “Art as an Antidote to Violence.”
Besides painting, Larry is a sculptor and photographer. He has shot and edited two documentary films: “Ana and Arthur” and “Carmen,” which were screened at the Hot Docs Film Festival in Toronto and the Vancouver International Film Festival.
He lives in Toronto with his wife and partner Kathie Young”
I am always pleased to seen new work and consider posting it for this site. It does not have to be just visual art. I would like also to receive information about connections between Anthroposophy and artists work. Due to my work as a Teacher, the posts are sometimes far apart in time.