Byzantine Archetypes and NASA Navigators

Following an exhibition in July I have been continuing with my exploration of the Cosmic and the Byzantine Archetypes and have created several compositions. Below are a few small thumbnails of my favourite ones. I have been making quick sketches of these using the traditional ‘cartoon’ technique of gum arabic and dry raw umber pigment with colour washes. It is a fabulous medium – so viscose, able to be layered, more forgiving than watercolours and quick – so I’m able to work on a much larger scale more easily.

I find I keep returning to the traditional Byzantine interpretation of Celestial Beings, I have tried others – but there is something about the simplicity, the directness, and the abstract naturalism – that holds the mysterious.

I’m walking a fine line. Negotiating a territory that could easily slip into fantasy art, new age art, science fiction art.  And I am also wrestling with the orthodoxy of an established canon of Byzantine imagery – which I respect, try to understand, and work with sincerely. I do feel that my work is perhaps a small representation of an evolving cosmic spirituality – I see that Eastern Christian Orthodoxy has something to offer, as much as NASA has (!) – in helping us along this journey. I’ll leave it at that for now.

Just as I try not to tamper with the archetype as handed down by generations of Byzantine Icon Painters, I also try not to tamper with the recordings made by our modern high-tech celestial navigators. I’m forever hopeful that in this way the truth of both is maintained – even while a new original story – full of possibilities is created.

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