Shedding One’s Skin Acrylic by Allen Vandever
This strange being convulses violently until her release, but once in the air of the world outside its shell, it writhes and shrinks from the sun too hot mercilessly scorching its translucent skin, too bright for the pupils in their first exposure to its rays. She has wrenched apart her soft underside from the hardened, weatherworn shell once donning her beautiful face. She is not the worm becoming moth; she is a detestable carrion bird emerging from timber not yet lit. A scavenger of her own body left on a pyre not aflame for ashes. She is saturated in all the secretions of a gapping wound, her body raw, tender, and vulnerable. My lady must walk in darkness; she must walk alone in the black of her despair until she brings herself to walk in the light once more. In these shadows I cannot reach her, she does not see my hand, does not see my face or even hear my voice. She has foregone her shell and with it everything of her life, including myself. Her shell reclines in a posture of malaise- a haunting reminder of how easily she slipped away from me.
Shadow Dancer Acrylic, Epoxy Resin by Allen Vandever
She no longer fears the light. She now revels in the colors being illuminated in her world in innumerable shapes and lines. She basks in its warmth reflecting off the contours of her body. She begins to dance, expressing the insurmountable bliss of this moment-this moment when she no longer cowers under the cold pressure of her shadow. She is finally at one with her dark celestial twin, merging their two worlds once rent asunder by ignorance and fear. She embraces her carnal sister and the world ceases to be bound.
This painting was not only a cornerstone for my work, but also represents a pivotal point in my understanding. This is the third version of this painting, and I find that with every version, I come closer to fully achieving expression of my vision-a vision of a world with endless capabilities made possible when we embrace all aspects of our beings-allowing our spirits to live, breathe, and create.
Disco Acrylic, Epoxy Resin by Allen Vandever
I relinquish conscious control over my limbs, my mind drifts back into the periphery, allowing a primal call to create the motions of my body. The mind becomes quiet, and I behold the glorious interweaving patterns and colors breathing and colliding in vivid translucence. My skin ignites with burning energy, growing hotter and hotter until I burst into flames. My body extends out to the furthest reaches of the flames, where I burn even hotter, fueling the conflagration. Steadily, I become a pillar of flame, ascending higher and higher over the earth. And from this height, I have the vision of a million worlds.
When the mind and body ascend into another plane of sight and existence, the sensations are beyond what is conceivable in the existing material world, so the words fail me, and I can only describe it as ‘other-worldly.’ In my experience, I have been able to reach this lucidity through direct mental meditation-in a waking or dreaming state, indirect meditation-often brought upon by the trance-inducing power of sex or dance, and with the use of psychedelic drugs. All have played a profound role in weaving my transcendental experience, guiding me to realize the infinitely complex dimensions of the human mind and spirit.
New video from the artist, ABOVE.
"There are two sides to every coin, and we all know two wrongs don’t make a right but somehow when it comes to filming a video in reverse then reversing it, it makes total sense? Confused? Watch the video to get a better idea. If you still don’t understand, I can only suggest to try and watch it in reverse?!"
The reverse side also has a reverse side. -Japanese proverb.
Wind Dancer Acrylic, Epoxy Resin by Allen Vandever
I have painted her in my presence many times before, but only through solitary reflection have I been able to capture the haunting mystery of my muse’s gaze. Only in quiet brushstrokes have I been able to capture the contours of her hips and the curvature of her waist, merging in the hypnosis of her dance. The rhythm pulls her this way, then that, the richness of sound is given form through the motions of her arms and the swaying of her shoulders. She flows like a willow tree in the wind, her body submitting to the elemental forces. But, as she manifests an image of the music, her face is languidly detached, unaware of the power of her loins and the art in her movement.
When she looks upon her reflection she does not see the vast countryside spanning unhindered over the plains of her neck, down her collarbone, through her sternum. She does not notice her amber-glowing skin stretched across the lines of her being, like a hide stretched across the body of a drum, stirring her into life. She has a strange fixation, a birthmark, as much a part of her as her nose and lips, but to her a curse confining her in isolation. Her body has the power to make even humdrum pieces of music profoundly brilliant, but I will forever contemplate her eyes, which have the power to express her lonely struggle and the quiet despair of her soul.
The RZA speaks on the Heart Sutra and Right Speech in an interview with the Shambhala Sun.
With his second book, The Tao of Wu, out this month, The RZA - leader of what is arguably the most important hip-hop group, The Wu-Tang Clan - recently spoke to the Shambhala Sun. Why? Well, the way of the RZA is one of embracing many religious practices and disciplines. A spiritual seeker, he first found real inspiration in the teachings of The Nation of Gods and Earths, but has since delved into Taoism, Christianity, Confucianism, and, yes, Buddhism - even visiting China’s famed Shaolin Temple.
In this Shambhala Sun Audio clip excerpted from a 45-minute conversation, the Wu-Tang mastermind speaks from his second home in California about Right Speech and how it might apply to rap, and expresses his admiration for Buddhism’s Heart Sutra.
First Light: An Introduction to Meru Foundation Research by Stan Tenen
The Hebrew Alphabet, Genesis, and Kabbalah: What is The Meru Project? Using the objective tools of science, Stan Tenen has studied the mathematical structure underlying the sequence of letters in the Hebrew text of Genesis. His research has shown that the geometric patterns fundamental to modern physics were available to us long before physics per se was considered an independent science. These patterns are intrinsic to the Hebrew letter-text of Genesis, and were known to traditional Kabbalists and sages. Studying these patterns leads to a deep understanding of the framework of our own existence, and ways to access our potential to improve ourselves and the world around us. The Meru Project has discovered that the sequence of letters in the Hebrew text of Genesis reveals a simple yet extraordinary and unexpected series of geometric models whose intrinsic meaning describes processes inherent in fields as diverse as embryology, modern physics, and consciousness studies. Meru research demonstrates that the Hebrew alphabet, in its early rabbinic form, is at its core a universal language of gestures. People from all cultures, even those who are blind from birth, and children before they speak, make spontaneous use of this natural language. The gestures of the Hebrew alphabet express universal needs and choices. The benefits of using this extraordinary and uniquely elegant model range from personal and spiritual growth to the expansion of scientific knowledge.
Just as some fun facts - Meru is a section of Kenya, and the people who live there are the Meru [which becomes more interesting when you consider that Hebrew is a Semitic language - a language family that may have its origins in Ethiopia, which currently borders Kenya]. Meru is also the name of a mountain in Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain traditions - which sits at the center of the cosmos.
Self-Punishment Acrylic, Epoxy Resin by Allen Vandever
This painting captures a moment when conscious and subconscious thought, converge in a lucid-dream state. The forest is vibrant with life and natural splendor, desires frolic naked among the trees, but a ghostly oppressor strikes disguised in the colors and forms of our heroine’s dream. Disgusting girl! Your thoughts are depraved, vile, animalistic! So powerful is the sadist-translucent that we cannot escape its grip even in our dreams. This frustration, pain, and fear of punishment deny us the ecstasy of fulfilling our true desires. Often, it is subtler, simply preventing us from discovering what our desires truly are.
When I think upon the progress of Modern Man, I am mesmerized by our accomplishments, but through our society’s progress many of our values have taken on the status of rigid, factual nomenclature, limiting the possibilities of personalized self-discovery. This translucent boundary prevents us from freely creating and exploring dimensions for our own experiences, stifling our potential to bring further enlightenment to the collective conscience. As creatures amidst our own modernity, we cannot be blind-sighted by relative comfort; we must continue the struggle for progress. So, in my pursuit to bring this struggle to light, I embarked on this painting hoping to portray how beautiful such freedom could be.
"In its most basic form, phenomenology attempts to create conditions for the objective study of topics usually regarded as subjective: consciousness and the content of conscious experiences such as judgments, perceptions, and emotions. Although phenomenology seeks to be scientific, it does not attempt to study consciousness from the perspective of clinical psychology or neurology. Instead, it seeks through systematic reflection to determine the essential properties and structures of consciousness and conscious experience."