I have focused on the representative of Humanity, Group Sculpture in past works, both 2D and 3D. This is my most resent revisiting. This type of interpretation is indicative of the way I interpret Rudolf Steiner’s indications for a new spiritual investment in art and its understanding. It does not have to be a critical cudgel to dissect non anthroposophical art but a way to understand the spiritual strivings of all art.. When we experience art, we may also experience the artist, the context, and the intent. There may well be flaws, but that may not be the most important thing we should focus on in any art. In Accademia, critical thinking may sometimes make us loose site of the merit and meaning, or even value, of that which is imperfect.
The threefold experience of art has more to do with identifying spiritual realities in art than it does condemning that which is outside of our personal preferences. If we do so we are practicing similar tactics as fascist regimes in their censoring of art.
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.
I have written about Steiner’s economic ideas in the past. The above link is a good place to start to understand what those are. As artists we still have some part in the economic sphere Though we are spiritual laborers like priests and educators, and must think differently about how to fund art without compromising the freedom we need in the cultural sphere.
.”Free Columbia is located in the very center of Columbia County, NY. The area is known for its rural beauty, small farms, many artists, and cultural organizations and initiatives.”
Free Columbia always has interesting things going on. Below is some of their recent work mostly from recent emails and some from their web site.
M.C. Richards Program
The program is named after M.C. Richards, a pioneer of Black Mountain College, a poet, potter, essayist, painter, and teacher. The program is one contribution toward her question: “What are some practices to strengthen and enliven living images, in contrast to mechanical and life-destroying images? And how may thinking itself be taught in ways that promote life, rather than estrange us from it?”
We are happy to announce that we have recieved a grant from Bridging Divides, a grant program of the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation. The funds will support a project offering a series of workshop/discussions on racial justice led by Roxanne Wilkins. There will be background videos and reading that addresses the subject. The intent is to build a diverse community of people interested in the subject. The next meeting will be on Saturday February 13 at 11 Maple Ave in Philmont, NY at 11 am. If you are interested to join this work, in person or by zoom please let Laura Summer know. 518 672 7302In January the MC Richards students spent 4 intensive days working on artistic projects related to life and sequence. Here are some results.“Powerful trees: A journey of breaking down walls. Staying rooted to childhood while looking forward, planting new seeds and opening to growth.” Kyra Moyer“Faith in Trees” By Isabel Dancey (Painting/drawing/collage) Series based on personal childhood stories and pictures related to nature, festivals, and attending the service at church. “My Insides: Small Giants and Gentle Monsters That I Had Been and Am” Kai Naor“This mosaic was inspired by a piece of glass I found on the bank of the Hudson River, when I first arrived in New York. I wanted to work with this glass, as it was plentiful and though I am far from home, it symbolized a connection back to my roots in Michigan, where I grew up in a family of glass blowers. As these chunks of multi colored glass were washing up around my feet, I felt called to honor that part of my upbringing, as well as pay tribute to the gifts Columbia County has brought to me during my time here through repurposing local materials” Lucy Nordin“ A view through a window: an exploration of polarity and composition through textiles, 3D objects, and forms found in nature.” Sara Cruz“compositions of spaces and sites where most don’t wander” Aiden PaulEvolutions of Earth “Imaginations of Earth Evolution as described by Rudolf Steiner”. Artistic renderings in watercolor. Sergio Rico“Red and Yellow” Felipe GarciaEve Hindes and Stefan Ambrose working on crankies. An expression of free culture | 2019 | Free Columbia These messages are sent to supporters within a roughly 90-minute travel radius who have already interacted with us.
I have been thinking about Gandhi’s practice and teaching of satyagraha, “a policy of passive political resistance, especially that advocated by Mahatma Gandhi against British rule in India”, and adapted by Martin Luther King during the civil right’s movement in America. I read a book about this when Nancy and I were involved in protests against waste sites being located in southwest GA, areas predominantly poor and black. Real solutions to the waste problem, the problem of equity, and many other social problems can rarely, in our time be solved with violence. Violence begets violence. A counterpoint to this is the Bhagavad-Gita, a book influential in Gandhi’s development,. It is set in the midst of battle when Arjuno in despair encounters Krishna, an embodiment of the divine spirit. The text is also an expression of this divine nature and support for those who exist in this realm in human form, met always with hard choices and trials. It is a call to action, participation in this realm and a call as in Christian doctrine to act not through the lower ego, but through the Logos, “Not I but Christ in me”. Americans should look not only to the founding fathers and the constitution but to souls like Emerson, King, and all who truly seek liberation for all of humanity and by spiritual inference, our mother the earth and its creatures, even down to it’s mineral substances, spinning as it is in the greater cosmos of form and spirit.
I will get around to something more cheerful soon, but this is what emerged from my last session of drawing. I had the title as soon as I started the scribbles. The boy is like younger boys that were in illustrated books by Garth Williams I had as a boy, or I should say we had, my sisters and I. There was the boy who caught the leprechaun and there was the story book about Crispin’s Crispian, the Dog Who Belonged to Himself. I experienced an odd occurrence I associate with an illustration in his book Elves and Fairies when I was between 9 and 11 or there about. I was up in the playroom in the Gaskin Street house and opened the book to a picture of one of his leprechauns. It came alive and it terrified me. I shut the book quickly and left the room. When I was older I looked at the book again and tried to see what I saw then but couldn’t. My rational mind had blocked the intuitive child. I try not to block that intuitive child any longer. Both are needed to get at the truth. Thus the title for this drawing on the last day of 2020: Babble.
By the way, I always thought that Mr. Dog, the title of the book mentioned, was a mild form of propaganda. It clearly states that Crispin’s Crispian was a conservative.
This image can be catalogued with my resent “insomnia drawings. I started only with the idea of depicting some form of benevolent female spirit: the divine mother, Sophia, Anthroposophia, a group soul, the holy spirit, a guardian spirit, a redeemed benevolent form of Lucifer, etc. When I had come close to finishing it, I thought about a title. First thoughts were “Queen of Heaven and Earth”, then “Egalitarian Queen of Heaven and Earth”, to dispel any idea of exclusivity due to any apparent racial archetypes, objectification of women, or any other flaw due to my own ineptitude and prejudices, subliminal or otherwise.
It is obviously influenced by integral art that I have looked at in the past (I have done chakra images before), but there is one obscure influence that I should bring up. When I was young, we had a large drawing on brown paper hanging in our house, done by one of my father’s students, if I am not mistaken. It was of a blond female figure with flowing hair and gown, with the words “And Ye Shall Find the Fields Filled with Great Golden Chariots”, in block letters above the figure.
My wife and I together, during a very stressful time, once saw a hovering orange spirit in the corner of one of the rooms in our house. We were the only ones around. It is not as though she or I have hallucinatory visions, but we both sensed or saw in a non-physical way, a spirit bathed in orangish light and acknowledged this to each other. We have been known to finish each other’s sentences, have simultaneously the same thoughts, and know what the other was thinking, but this experience was singularly unique.
An odd thing happened when I went to write the title on the back with my signature. I had settled on the long name “Egalitarian Queen of Heaven and Earth”, and clearly had this in my mind as I was nodding off. When I went to read the title the next day, it read: “Egalitarian School of Prayer”, and I guess that is what it is, a prayer to an all encompassing compassionate spirit.
I have struggled with insomnia since I was a teanager. Lately I have had a resurgence of insomnia. Usually I eventually make up for lost sleep but in the meantime, I struggle. It is not that I never sleep, just that I cannot sleep at night for a normal 7-8 hours and have to make up for it later. Someone once said I keep jazz musician’s hours. When I was self employed, this was OK. Most of my adult life I have had to hold down a job employed by someone else. Luckily these were jobs I enjoyed, working in a living history museum for 19 years, 3 years as a graduate assistant and now, 10 or more years teaching at the college and university level.
My way of coping with insomnia has been, since 15 years of age, to put the time to good use making art. For 19 years, I painted in my attic.The past decade, I have played the piano with headphones on, and I have always written poetry. For the past several months, I have been drawing completing one or two drawings a week. sometimes more. Most of these have been non-objective. I have finally had to embrace my eclecticism even if it is not a good career choice. If you get known for one thing and then you switch to something else, you loose your brand so to speak. Of all the art Picasso made, his ceramic work was panned initially. Eventually this work was seen as groundbreaking in the field of ceramics. I am not claiming to be Picasso but I have learned to embrace my eclecticism weather others do or not
Here are my drawings from the past few months, some influenced no doubt by the current state of the world. I could be called a neo-modernist or neo expressionist with a predilection for Steiner’s ideas on art, and goethean color theory. I am a student of art of all kinds and of nature and of my own experiences.