Third Eye Open
Ink drawing and Collage, Series, 2018
Third Eye Open, represents an internal conversation about the inter-connectedness of human life, from the infinitesimal individual to the expanse in which our universe exists and operates within - yet there are laws of physics, and highly shared beliefs and practices that hinge or bind us together.
While creating this work I was processing research primarily from two past series: The Male and Female and Awakening the Matrilineal. The Male and Female is a collection of four concentric circles, including The Male: The Male, The Architect, The Protector, as the outer circle. The inner circle is named The Universe. In The Female:, the outer circle is titled The Female, The Oracle, The Nurturer, while the inner circle is named The One, The Source Within.
Awakening the Matrilineal, the second series, includes five different circular works. This research included working with sacred geometry, the power of ancestral memories, cellular structure, cellular memory, genealogy and creating as a form of sacred practice and mediation. This led to my focus on developing an awareness of the third eye.
Depending on one's spiritual and/or cultures beliefs it is also known as the 6th chakra or the pineal gland. The pineal gland, a pinecone-shaped organ, is centralized within the two hemispheres of a human brain. Among its secretion, this gland secretes melatonin, a hormone produced by the amount of light a person is exposed to and which regulates our circadian rhythms. Circadian rhythms â€œare the daily cycles of biological activityâ€ that occur within the human body, some animals, and plant life. Hence this cycle is extremely important to our overall well-being.
Activation of the third eye chakra can connect one to their intuitive senses, heighten the ability to see energy, connect to the spiritual realm, enhance creativity and/or strengthen their linkage to universal inspiration. This meditative state of mind, is a means for further forging a relationship with self, others and with one's environment.
While creating this work I knew it was about the human connection to the universe but purposely avoided honing in to further define the conversation until it was absolutely necessary. Prior to completing the work, I was listening to the SyFy channel and heard about the discovery of Kepler 19c. I was intrigued by the process, transit timing variation (TTY), used by scientists to deduce the existence of the planet Kepler 19c. As scientists were studying Kepler 19b, they realized it was not acquiescing to their formulaic equation. The planet kept orbiting five minutes before or after their estimated arrival time. Kepler 19b was under the gravitational hold of Kepler 19c™s orbit” it was under the influence of an invisible, yet an undeniably powerful force.
With these works, I am suggesting the process of transit timing variation and the exploration of third eye activation and other measures of self-exploration and self-growth are essential and parallel, ongoing conversations. I believe we most all be listening and mindful of the invisible forces that intertwine us all.
Exhibition Catalog Statement by Kimberli Gant, PhD
“…an Earth alive in my consciousness as a living crystal being whose etheric geometric skeleton could be mapped in its patterns of energy flows…in ocean currents, the winds, river systems, and distributions of precious minerals. It seemed to me that ancient humans had known this sacred, hidden body of Earth and had settled on it in ways that took advantage of very visceral powers of place.”
The Divine Feminine in Geometric Consciousness (2010)
Hagen’s quote suggests that one can map the Earth not just through national borders, but through the power of the natural environment and the sacred energy that flows through those spaces. To her geometry is not simply a tool for measuring distances or volumes of space, but a way to consider invisible sacred energies helping keep the Earth functioning as it should. Each aspect of the environment works together creating a harmonious system. Hagen’s quote also hints at the legacy of geometric symbols moving beyond practical units, into sacred objects representing notions of infiniteness, and the unity of male and female. Moreover, depictions of spheres, circles, triangles, and their three-dimensional counterparts have used in rituals by numerous cultures spanning the world from ancient times into the present day.
Hagen’s statement about the creative complexity of the world, and those that live within it, also serves as a good entryway in discussing the recent body of work by contemporary artist Amber Robles-Gordon. In the artist’s mixed media images, one senses she is contemplating these long-standing associations of spirituality in geometry and color. Using various forms of fabric Robles-Gordon sews together images of concentric circles, surrounded by repeating triangular shapes. Within those abstract designs are lines of rainbow-like color, which she creates by incorporating the entire color wheel into a gradient effect. In addition, the patterns and shapes are merged with humanoid figures and phallic symbols. Robles-Gordon employs mathematical signs referencing endlessness and unity with those of male and female to depict the interconnectedness of the cosmos.
Robles-Gordon’s work presents signs in three ways, as representations of masculine and feminine attributes, as icons of eternity, and as aesthetic design. In the first instance, recognizable signs, such as a downward-pointing triangle, reference a woman’s genitalia, and long, tubular extensions suggest the male phallus. Other signs, such as concentric circles, indicate the continuation of space and time, as both have no beginning and no end, and thus are forever continuous. The largest circle is then filled with a dense, black grid-like pattern, which for the artist, is similar to the cosmos. Finally, these aforementioned shapes are spread throughout the work, creating pattern in different areas of the picture plan. They draw the viewer’s eye around the entire image, though the rainbow colored circles are the focal point. The rhythmic design reinforces the notion of something that never ends and highlights the blending of contrasting visuals.
Robles-Gordon utilizes this tri-part approach to highlight the links between the physical and metaphysical worlds. In her use of male/female attributes she does not create a divisive dichotomy, but merges the signs together, indicating they are two sides of the same coin. Downward triangles, again a reference to the female form, and femininity, overlay hard-edged squares, which reference masculinity. In one of her newest pieces, Kepler-19c, are phallic extensions fused with a series of concentric circles. The entire figure is then enveloped within a larger circle filled with a black grid. Robles-Gordon connects both genders of humanity with a compressed matrix, a symbol representing the universal and the collective unconscious.
With the artist gesturing towards the sacred legacy of geometry, Robles-Gordon utilizes themes dating back millennia. In approximately 360 BC Greek philosopher Plato wrote his dialogue Timaeus. In it he describes 120 identical right triangles that create an invisible body organizing all matter in the universe. It is “a vibrating, invisible, female ‘container for becoming,’ it births the five dynamic elements of creation – Fire, Earth, Air, Water, and Aether.” Each element is both a geometric shape and color: Fire is a tetrahedron (pyramid), and is red; Earth is a cube, and is yellow; Air is an octahedron (eight-sided sphere), and is white; Water is an icosahedron (twenty-sided sphere) and is black; and finally, Aether is a dodecahedron (twelve-sided sphere), and is green. The architecture of these shapes and colors are found throughout the natural world, in the structure of viruses, crystals, molecules and pollen. Thus one can easily argue that the foundations of nature, from their shape to their color are sacred.
Beyond the spiritual dimension Robles-Gordon is exploring in her work in the formal, aesthetic legacy of abstraction and craft. The grid patterns are reminiscent of artists such as Alma Thomas, Josef Albers and Frank Stella, who each used repetitious line and color as ways to investigate pattern, color theory, and design. Moreover, in working in fiber, the artist connects her work with twentieth century debates about divisions between fine art and craft. The fiber arts such as textile and weaving were placed within the realm of artisanal arts, whereas painting, sculpture and drawing were high forms of art production. However, contemporary artists such as Shinique Smith, Sheila Hicks, Faig Ahmed, and Robert Morris have all incorporated fiber materials into their practices, re-conceptualizing the medium and its status within the hierarchy of art.
Robles-Gordon’s images are profoundly layered works. Not only is she physically making work that incorporates multiple layers of material, but her conceptual framework is no less multivalent. In her colorful designs one can think of the legacy of geometric abstraction within contemporary art, while also considering the history of the “golden ratio” from Grecian mathematics. Finally, as Hagen’s quote states in the beginning, designs found in all parts of nature are taken for granted by humans every day. Whether one believes in sacredness of geometry or not, Robles-Gordon works will ensure you ponder it there and perhaps in the world around you.