Figures of Power: Starts September 22

Two teachers, six Friday mornings: A special class from Mary Lounsbury and Gwen Diehn.

Where does the power come from in a powerful work of art? Is it your great skill and intention as an artist that puts it there? Yes, it is, but there’s more to it than that: Powerful vision requires seeing beyond the self. This class is about establishing a practice of creative engagement with the world beyond the self. Power Figures can be thought of as focal containers for spiritual or emotional energy. We will explore the creation of such forms as a means of dialogue with the unconscious, the Other and the unknown.

“Other” is simply “that which I don’t identify as me.” It includes the unconscious, and also the soil I’m sitting on, the person next to me, the breeze on my skin and a thought or impulse that comes to me out of nowhere. In between “Self” and “Other” is a third place: This is the space of possibility, where we don’t know if it’s you or me, real or pretend, drive or daimon---and, most crucially, in this space, we don’t try to resolve these questions into true/false or you/me, but allow the unknown to remain ambiguous. This is a place of paradox and play, where conversation and communication flourish, and this is where imagination enters and ideas come into form.

For artist and non-artist alike, this work of opening awareness to creative imaginal dialogue is nourishing. It has the potential to infuse our daily lives with a sense of connection and unfolding meaning. Artists will find that this practice enriches your body of work, deepening your relationship to an ever-present source of personally meaningful content.

We will meet at various outside locations in the Asheville area and at the BookWorks studio. Beginning in conversation with the landscape and the unknown, we will create primitive* forms out of found materials. Over the course of 6 weeks there will be opportunity to work with a variety of materials and forms, with the option to develop two or three works in greater depth. While inspired by the artifacts and understandings of many cultures, our intent is not to appropriate the work of others. Rather it is to be present and aware as we use the creative process to give form to our own imaginal experiences.

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*Primitive here meaning:     
- apparently arising from unconscious needs or desires and unaffected by objective reasoning    - of a simple, direct style of art that deliberately rejects sophisticated artistic techniques.