First published: Spring 1999
Historically, art and the sacred have always been intertwined. In early Shamanic societies the artist/healer/priest/shaman was the creative source of culture. From East to West up to the Industrial Revolution the creation of art and the work of art itself has been understood as occurring at a juncture between the spiritual and physical worlds.
Alex Grey has stated that the purpose of his art is to examine the relationship of mind and body and to awaken the spirit It is a rare occurrence for an artist to explore directly and explicitly the cycle of the transformation of human consciousness as Grey has done in such works as his Sacred Mirrors. Grey's visionary approach to integrating the physical and metaphysical worlds has labeled him as an Outsider in relation to the concerns of much contemporary art, but the sacred light and content of Grey's work shares affinities with such diverse artists as Fra Angelico, Michelangelo, Blake, Van Gogh and Rothko.
Grey's earliest memories predict the course that his life will follow. While lying in his crib, he remembers watching textures unfold, first, a boundless blissful white light. Then a gnarly snaggle-branched, ugly dark force moved into that space, coming in clumps, and taking over. This terrifying shadowy swarm would obliterate the white light. Little islands of luminosity would crop up and clear away the gnarly texture until the pure white light reappeared. Grey interprets these early "texture" visions as perceptions of primordial universal energies, the ongoing flux of repose and motion, yin and yang, darkness and light, good and evil, life and death. Grey's artworks point to this early vision by their constant reference to the theme of polarities and their visionary perception of subtle light.
This is an article extract; read the full article in Raw Vision #26