Critical Trilogy

a critic's millennial journey

Aldo Tambellini’s Art of the Now

"Vortex" by Aldo Tambellini

Aldo Tambellini’s Art of the Now, a Futurological Approach

By

L.P. Streitfeld

The future is the present.  The present is the future.  Jean Gebser’s paradoxical theory of the ever-present origin1 anticipated a 21st century art form that resolves the contradictions, or the aporias, associated with conventional linear views of time, within a holistic integral structure.  By definition, the art of a new, non-linear paradigm must embrace everything that has come before, and everything that is to come.  At the center of the duality of past and future is the dynamism of the present moment, the transcendent reality of the Now.

Gebser’s view was linked, inexplicably at the time, to the precession of the equinoxes, in which the wobble of the Earth’s spinning axis causes the sun to appear to rotate backwards (counterclockwise) through the zodiac2 as it revolves around the center of the galaxy, which is also cycling through space.  In a universe in which everything is in motion, to venture within is also to connect with the outer cosmos; the intimate is the infinite.

How do we recognize an Ouroboric3 art form that engages this revolving galactic orientation while embodying a non-linear structure in its very principles?  Before the development of the high-powered telescope, which brought other galaxies into our view, Aldo Tambellini departed from his classical training to embrace a galactic mode of being, and creating.  It was an enigmatic, perhaps mystical, experience that ignited his life-long challenge of making the Now – from seed to gestation to birth – manifest in art.  When he was just 22, a stranger appeared mysteriously at his studio and charged him with a task that would point to an entirely new relationship among material, space, and time.

Defining the NOW in a Personal Narrative

When Tambellini arrived in lower Manhattan in 1959, an upheaval in the old forms of artistic creation was underway.  From the perspective of our time, these happenings can now be viewed as precursors to the “do it yourself” free-for-all era of social networking where one needn’t leave home to engage in multidimensional digital collaboration incorporating several disciplines at once.  But fifty years ago, television was in its infancy, representing a new medium for exploration in art.  Tambellini viewed the (r)evolutionary potential of electronic transmission as a tool for community building and intercommunication.  What is more, he penetrated directly into the signal as a means of appropriating the public airwaves for artists.  His “Electromedia” collaborations, concurrent with the explorations of Nam June Paik, launched a revolution that became more apparent as the commercial domination of the medium homogenized the mass culture.

Tambellini’s pioneering work began innocently enough in 1963 as an organic exploration of his East Village neighborhood.  He discovered the slide as a ready-made surface for painting circles and spirals.  Seeking, as always, to incorporate his environment in his iconography, he projected the resulting images onto a tenement building.  The narrative was developed in a series of 160 handmade “lunagrams,” black circles split by a band of light.  Projected in his “Electromedia” experiments to an accompaniment of sound and motion, these communal experiences were subversively awakening the kundalini4 in the artistic underground.

Subsequent experiments with film intensified his exploration of dark energy5, furthering a lifelong trajectory as a rebel liberated from traditional structures of museum, gallery, and even studio.  Bypassing external structures, he painted emulsion directly onto celluloid.  The resulting narrative of holistic multi-dimensionality would not be understood until digital technology rendered such a renegade, hand-made narrative literal: the birth into a new mythology limited only by the borders of a single frame of celluloid as it follows another in a non-linear linear sequence.  The marriage of the poles of this contradiction emanating from the artist’s unconscious consisted of holistic chapters – comprising past (painting), present (film) and future (digital) — in a multi-dimensional narrative of rotating dark energy projected through light.  Within these frames, a new archetype was being formed that would sustain in dynamic tension the opposites rendering Tambellini’s image making so powerfully charged.

The sign for the Black Gate Theater still exists on Second Avenue, a relic of Tambellini’s pioneering movement that found a home in his East Village neighborhood in 1966.  Carving out a space in the ghetto for intermedia experiments exploring the “dark energy”5 that had yet to be labeled as such by science, this venue was born out of earlier collaborative experiments.  Devoting his activism as well as his art-making to the transpersonal dynamism of the black hole, Tambellini moved into the space of the looming shadow cast by Warhol, who himself had entered the shadow of Hollywood star-making in his 47th Street film-making Factory.

Yet, as Warhol came to define Pop as a new movement devoted to the everyday object created by mass production, Tambellini penetrated further into the American shadow, working with black revolutionary poets and musicians in his “Black Zero” multimedia productions.  These events weren’t simply about a new integral aesthetic of transparency or statements about racial injustice; they derived from and incorporated, if arcanely, profound and deeply personal experience from his childhood.  His city of Lucca in war-torn Italy, was liberated by the African-American Buffalo Soldier regiment, imprinting a permanent sense on the young artist that the black man represented a symbol of freedom.

Aside from his dedication to the alchemy of transforming lead into gold in his programmatic negation of color, there is another important contrast that separated Tambellini from the Pope of Pop.  In 1962, Warhol developed the technique of silkscreen as a statement of artistic mission, a method of factory (re)production that simultaneously provided him the freedom to pursue the jet-set lifestyle.  In contrast, Tambellini relied on the intimacy of the curved hand to create a vocabulary of cycles, at times using architectural paper to build geometrical structure into the very foundation of his image making.  In doing so, he directly incorporated a philosophy of transcendence, evident in the emergence of celestial space from the negation of discarded or discredited human architectonic paradigms.  Mirroring the rotation of the planets in space, as well as the rotation of the chakras,6 the gesture united his personal narrative with the universal mythology of the birth of a new age.  For Tambellini, black is the womb where the archetype of holism, what C.G. Jung referred to as the Self, is born, and the circle within the circle is the galactic view of an evolving universe, of independent yet interconnected revolving bodies.  In dedicating his very being to a process of continual surrender, the artist tied his fate, or timing, to that of the New Birth, an assertion made evident in “The Black Seed of Cosmic Creation Series,” executed in 1961-62.

The future, our present, is immanent in the past, of course, but the process of historical germination obscures the fact.  The elaboration of the division between such a penetration into the depth of Self and the essential superficiality of the not-Self was a necessary step in this process.  The incommensurable paths of Pop’s glorification (or conversely, the subversive mirroring) of the slick surface of consumption and that of the devoted seeker of a new, humane, paradigm is revealed in their divergent approach to the mass icon.  As TV promulgated a consumer-driven popular culture to the masses, Warhol erased his personal history from his work, supplanting himself with the well-known persona in which his image of celebrity, flattened into two-dimensionality in his iconic silkscreens, hovers emotionlessly, arrested in time and space.  Meanwhile, Tambellini pursued a profoundly personal narrative in his obsessive engagement with and literal tracing of the geometry of holism itself – the circle.  The form, with a hole in its center, was lodged in his subconscious as the geometry of nurture, invoking the mill where his family took refuge during the war.  In Arriving, the ancient and humble utilitarian millstone is transmuted into a 21st century icon illuminated by the artist’s written musing on the paradox of fame (“Arriving is a point of never arriving.”) around the astronomical glyph for the Sun, a symbol of the Self, which dates back to antiquity.

Tenets of a New Paradigm

The trajectory of art history in the post-war period is explicit in its categories: from action to flatness, from minimalism, to vacancy, and, in our time, to unrooted meaninglessness. From Clement Greenberg’s Abstract Expressionist bible to the dictates of feminist postmodern deconstructivism breaking down the western canon, the concepts which engaged the art of these movements were, as ever, the experience of these generations, coming to terms with the radical emptiness of the social model that had eventuated in total war, profound corruption, corporate domination, and universal injustice.  The pockets and residues of humane art that coexisted with and struggled against the officially sanctioned arts of the period sustained ancient values through barren and hopeless times, and in some instances sheltered within themselves the seeds of a new paradigm.  Where there were only fragments, these proposed the unifying symbol; where there was despair and inaction, these offered models of proactivity; where there was ruin and isolation, these urged interactivity with the environment; where there was stasis and the dread that it would always be thus, these taught dynamic presence; where those saw a life of unremitting uniformity, these spoke of transcendence; where those admitted nothing new under the sun, the new art embraced, and thrived on uncertainty.  And underlying everything was a profound sense of solidarity expressed in collaboration, perhaps the essence of the new way.

By the turn of the millennium, collaboration had become the means as well as the message, leading to and from these tenets of a New Paradigm Art Form: the unifying symbol; interactivity with the environment; proactivity; dynamic presence; transcendence; and embracing/overcoming uncertainty.  The New Paradigm, while integrating them, integrates and confers retrospective meaning upon the fragments and cul-de-sacs of post-modernism and reunites contemporary art with the ancient Western tradition with which it had self-consciously and abruptly broken subsequent to the Second World War, many of its avant-garde practitioners viewing themselves as shamanic interpreters of hidden patterns of meaning.

With his personal roots in subatomic realism, Tambellini’s blood-infused 1962 On Becoming 2, dynamically balanced by the erotic attraction of opposites, was the signal of his unique and precarious positioning as the hidden link between the American avant-garde and a 21st century grassroots movement rooted in the erotically charged icon at dawn of civilization, the hieros gamos.7 To the extent that the tenets of a New Paradigm in Art were approached by Abstract Expressionism, and before them the Surrealists, the individual artist faced considerable personal peril in accessing an archetype that had yet to be fully configured in the collective unconscious.  For Tambellini, dealing with loss at the most fundamental and personal level, the danger of this terrain was projected onto his personal trajectory with the tragic disappearance of his works for nearly 30 years following yet another prescient series (1984) in which he consciously created works on paper only to destroy them afterwards.  “I was consumed with destruction,” he says of that time.  His premiere exhibition, titled after his final 1989 series of wax graphite with perforations, Black IS, represents reclamation as well as a celebration of an Ouroboric movement that has perforce remained underground, or misunderstood, awaiting the moment when the collective consciousness was prepared to embrace it.

The Unifying Symbol

Recourse to the ancient past to uncover the sacred geometry of a defining symbol is a primary characteristic of a New Paradigm Art; evident already in the first great self-conscious art movement of modernity, the Renaissance.  In our own time, the World Trade Center can be seen as such a defining symbol, whose destruction drew a demarcation between the world-weary post-modernist era and the narrative of a new non-linear paradigm in which the Ouroboric life/death/rebirth cycle reveals the transformation of personal narrative into the universalism of a truly global art form.

Lurking behind Tambellini’s penetration into the black vortex is a mystery that was never explained: a stranger appeared in the open door of his studio in 1952, asking him to create a circle.  Not just a single circle, but a series investigating the very essence of the form.  Being open to the unexpected and the inexplicable, Tambellini embraced the commission, which would provide the artist, at the age of 22, with a life-long trajectory for his art.  Instinctively, he sought to materialize a deep awareness of the circle as an iconic form embodying the convergence of past, present, and future.  Resolving the inherent problem of placing an ancient objective figure into a subjective quest for meaning would necessitate a leap into a new paradigm of non-linear transcendent reality.

The ultimate key to the marriage of objective/non-objective would prove to be rotation. The culmination of Tambellini’s language for the spiral was his 1967 cameraless spiral “Videograms” created from electronic waves emitted by a television set.  This breakthrough was followed by his invention of a television sculpture, Black Spiral.  In removing the hand of the artist from the symbol of life, he was creating an electronic visual vocabulary for a new era precipitated by the human exploration of space.

Proactivity

A prophetic 1950 painting reveals Tambellini’s remarkable level of vision and masterful style already at the age of 20.  The Funeral depicts the artist and another man bearing a coffin while leading a winding procession of grieving women up a hillside.  This prophetic self-narrative superbly exemplifies a multidimensional reality in which the future is determined by the conscious proactivity of the present.  As such, it sweeps the past into a materialization of the ever-present origin, invoking the Eternal Return, in which the New Son/Sun replaces the god of a dying age.8 The coffin, of course, belongs to the patriarchy and its fixation on linear time.  This rather classical painting already contains the narrative that would emerge in such future experiments with quantum reality as Five Second Delay, a space and time collaboration using with reel-to-reel video,

Leaping into the non-linearity of the ever-present origin demands the radical act of making the Self known through such self-determining creative actions.  In seeing the early phases of what would become the corporate domination of the art institution, Tambellini instigated “The Screw,” a project consisting of a communal magazine and public demonstrations in which he protested the treatment of artists by the institutions that purported to serve art.  The overt radicalism of the actions sealed Tambellini’s fate in the art world of the day; he was ostracized by the system of curators, dealers, and critics, compelling him — as if it were necessary — to adhere to his previously established trajectory of fierce penetration into the unknown realm of dark energy.  His very activism kept him in the shadows awaiting the moment when the birth of a new hero was at hand.

Interactivity with the Environment

“Unless we become a society which exchanges with each other, we will be destroying each other,” says Tambellini.  In November 2009, the artist returned to the area of his former East Village neighborhood, gathering old friends and collaborators for a long-awaited reprise of Black Zero.  It was an experience for whose profundity few among its audience were prepared, a journey into the depths of the soul by way of the bodily penetration of militant black poetry and jazz, marrying the reaches of space projected onto a spherical black balloon.  The darkness of outer space zoomed into the black of inner space, striking the recesses where fear lurks and bringing it to the surface to be expelled with the pop of the balloon.  While the poetry evoked the racial tension of the early ‘60s, the collaboration was both timeless and timely, piercing the mythology bubble surrounding 2012.9 The Mayans viewed the Milky Way as the Great Mother, the Galactic Center as her womb, the dark rift as her birth canal, and the central bulge as the pregnant birth of a new world.10

The mythology of a new birth arising out of the chaos of breakdown has been a powerful personal narrative driving the activism of Aldo Tambellini.  Having experienced the destruction of his city during World War II bombings, he sought for the rest of his life to secure himself in his environment.  When he returned to his birthplace of Syracuse, he painted street murals and made connections with the urban soul through documentary-style photography.  When he was living in a storefront in his decimated neighborhood of the East Village, he established his image of brujo (magician) with what was perhaps the first neighborhood storefront art installation in his living space.  He invited the Hispanic children in the neighborhood to participate in the making of his convex sculptures, thereby externalizing into his environment the nurturing he discovered in the most universal of holistic forms.

As instructor at the MIT Center for Advanced Visual Studies in the late ‘70s and ‘80s, Tambellini conducted experiments with an authentic grassroots reality TV as a form of interactive public expression.  Individuals in different public locations would speak to one another in words and movement through the medium, emphasizing the potential for interactive mass communication that would later be realized on a global scale by digital technology.  Five Minutes in Pittsburgh had different students positioned in different pats of the city with video cameras to record their environment precisely at noon, and then all the material was put together as a visual conversation aired by Carnegie Tech.   By bringing the public airwaves directly into the communal space, the intermedia pioneer was making a radical statement about the commercial theft of the airwaves that would come to define the celebrity-obsessed corporate entertainment media.  His philosophy of appropriation and making familiar the transcendent energies behind 20th century media was the ultimate rebellion against the commercial forces at work behind the homogenization of the mass culture.

Dynamic Presence

The art forms of a new paradigm, by their very definition, must be alive, embodying the principle of rotation in the subatomic space of raised consciousness as a co-creation with the external revolution of the planets and their satellites.11

The dynamic physicality of Tambellini’s art is already evident in his 1959 masterpiece, Pregnant Woman, which abstracts the classical figure just enough to investigate the circle as a material design in the fully feminine body.  The circle is present here not just in the obvious places of the stomach, buttocks and breasts, but also the knees, shape of the arms, seat and head. This idiosyncratic “Black Madonna”12 restores the lost feminine divinity in the “full circle” reinstatement of the sacred power of the Great Mother in the female physical form, making the body alive and dynamic, even in the presence of its earthbound stillness.

Pregnant Woman is alive with the Ouroboric cycle of life/death/rebirth spiraling through Tambellini’s black art.  In this interrelationship between heaven and earth through an obsessive dedication to the very process of rotation, Black IS becomes the resolution of a life journey to penetrate into the very nature of things.

Transcendence

Tambellini’s penetration into the circle was a quest for transcendence, internally in his soul, and externally in his art.  The marriage of inner and outer became a black vortex that could equally spin upward into ether or downward into matter.  Jung links Tambellini’s motifs, the circle and the quaternity (the square slide and film frame) to the individual process:

The transcendent function does not proceed without aim and purpose, but leads to the revelation of the essential man.  It is in the first place a purely natural process, which may in some cases pursue its course without the knowledge or assistance of the individual and can sometimes forcibly accomplish itself in the face of opposition.  The meaning and purpose of the process is the realization, in all of its aspects, of the personality originally hidden away in the embryonic germplasm; the production and unfolding of the original, potential wholeness.  The symbols used by the unconscious to this end are the same as those which mankind has always used to express wholeness, completeness and perfection; symbols, as a rule, of the quaternity and the circle.13

The quest emerges again among the New York avant-garde on the very weekend of the premier of Tambellini’s long-deferred exhibition in Cambridge.  In an unprecedented “do-it-yourself” free-form production, Ralph Lemon incorporated monologue, video, the film Solaris, live dance and light sculpture into How Can You Stay in the House All Day and Not Go Anywhere? Using the organizing archetypes of opposites — an authentic “ordinary hero,” alternatively as spaceman (heaven) and hare (earth) and a wailing woman – this multidisciplinary artist delivered a personal narrative transcending into a universal language, revealing a new view of human relationship by way of the kundalini-awakened body.  How to form dynamic partnerships in this transcendent field in which everything is blissfully alive?  Incorporating all the tenets of a New Paradigm Art delivered into the avant-garde by Tambellini a half century earlier, Lemon shifted the paradigm to infuse an ancient knowledge of sacred geometry into dance – creating duets, trilogies, quartets and quintets illuminating the current struggle of the five, in which sexual desires are continually thwarted by a chaotic system in imbalance.

Such a New Paradigm Art Form has been embraced by the New York avant-garde completely unaware that the cycle had been completed by an artist who fifty years ago incorporated all these different mediums into live performance, penetrating into the very nature of the uncertainty surrounding dark energy.  Collaboration is the medium as well as the message.

Uncertainty

Collaboration was the key to getting beyond the known of the ego observer into the Unknown of the paradigm leap.  Engaging with multiple perspectives freed Tambellini from the limitations of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, in which the consciousness of the scientist or artist affects the outcome of the experiment.

This provided a ready trajectory: the medium of collaboration as an exploration of the transpersonal forces that science had yet to label dark energy was taken from the external realm of personal interaction with other artists in the ‘60s into the private realm of painting.   In creating his black paintings, Tambellini had evolved from the interaction with humans as projections of the transpersonal forces to a private collaboration with the transpersonal forces in the solitary realm of the studio.

The accumulated consciousness that Tambellini brought to his art, which by the 1990s was focused on poetic investigations into the nature of space, enabled him to penetrate into the nature of the invisible dark matter, which continues to confound science through its very invisibility.  And paradoxically, the very theory that would have illuminated the artist’s solitary inquiry was also being made invisible.14

Former NASA consultant and current renegade Richard C. Hoagland presents a compelling case for the Hyperdimensional Model as the “theory of everything”15 sought by a scientific community that continues to reject him.  Hyperdimensional physics theory attributes the source of stellar energy to rotation, the circular motion that we experience in Tambellini’s black paintings.  In deep inner consciousness that the artist brings to his curved gesture, the spin of his undulating line shifts our relationship to inner space, where the configuration of a new archetype is in formation.  The theory attributes the torsion spin causing the Earth’s precession to the spatial stress between dimensions; leaping into this vacuum by way of the Tambellini vehicle ipso facto propels the observer/participant into the holism at the foundation of a paradigm arrived at by intuition alone.

The spirals that emerged as the iconographic center of his later work, most of it existing as sketches in his notebooks, take on this dynamic presence through their very concept, becoming simultaneously more complex and ethereal, more abstract and freed from even allusion to matter, depicting energy exuding energy, the very mechanism by which transpersonal forces effect transference between dimensions, allowing us to experience our future before it happens.  Embracing change as an evolutionary awareness of rotation as the new model for unity immediately negates the division of subatomic space into the either/or particle vs. wave.

Reviving Modernism

Just as postmodern arose with the failure of science to find a unifying theory, postmodernism must finally die with the ascent of a new paradigm in which such a theory is imbedded in an embodied awareness of a multidimensional reality.  What was pursued in the 1960s through the altered states produced by certain drugs is now accessible to the mass of humanity.

Einstein’s theory of relativity reflected and diagnosed the fragmentation of reality thematized in the art of his day, catalyzing his continued search for a Unified Field Theory and proposing a cultural theory for the meta-narrative devoid of authentic characterization.  But what postmodernism sought to remedy – the cultural negation of the feminine – it continued to repress by way of the feminist straightjacket which had gained a stronghold on academic thinking at the close of the 20th century.

And yet, this is the quandary over which we now find ourselves perching at the edge of the abyss: only a deep inner wisdom is capable of delivering a holistic model to the minds and hearts of humanity, yet the feminine face of this wisdom is still being denied.  Any artistic revival of modernism for the 21st century would have to revive this divine feminine power, identified here as the kundalini, and unite Her with her masculine consort in the alchemical conjunctio, the sacred marriage of opposites.  This archetype entered the New York avant-garde when Tambellini and his partner Beverly Schmidt interacted with his “lunagram” projections, described thus by Jonas Mekas in the Village Voice “…I saw both Tambellinis immersed in a deep dance trance of their own, moving, with hand-held projection and slides, shaking and trembling, no more conscious of themselves.”16

Collapse of the Quantum Wave

In an exchange of letters over a period of nearly thirty years, C.G. Jung and Wolfgang Pauli agreed17 upon the hieros gamos as the archetype to emerge from under the collapsed wave.18 Tambellini was utilizing the ancient symbol for life, the spiral, to unite the mediums ruling both the collective consciousness (television) and the collective unconscious (film).  We see how his deep intuitive immersion in the transparent process of wielding the transpersonal energies to simultaneously penetrate inner/outer space delivered him into the womb where a new archetype was being formed: the “wavicle.”19 Everything, the Earth itself, is alive in this view, and all is interconnected in a constant stream of interchange between levels of consciousness connecting (feminine) inner knowledge and (masculine) decisive outer action.

Significantly, Tambellini’s most radical public performance, The Event of the Screw, was wielded as an instrument against the entrenched powers of society; yet the symbol was also a signal to artists, as harbingers of what is to come, to inwardly connect with the dark feminine power, the kundalini activated at the base of the spine which Tambellini makes profoundly visible in his 1965 “Black Energy Burns with Fire” series.

How does the “wavicle”20 manifest itself within this inner evolutionary process?  Utilizing the language of quantum physics, a body energized by the kundalini spiral takes form: the wave of this dynamism will be held in balance by its opposite, the particle.  This state of “stationary motion” is one in which subatomic movement is balanced by external stillness manifesting itself as silence.  In this stillness is the leap into the New Paradigm, the unknown realm of a newly emerging archetype, the sacred marriage, where the merging of dynamic complementary bodies gives birth to something entirely new: a new form, a new idea, a new lens for viewing a holistic universe.21

As we experience in The Echo, a pair of white circles within black circles, the dynamism of duality within a unity of opposites is the secret that unlocks the extraordinarily cohesive multimedia art of Aldo Tambellini.  We enter his unknown realm at our own peril, for the loss of the patriarchal ego-self in the blackness is the gap of stillness separating us from the retrieval of the emerging archetype of the Self.  The leap of faith that takes us from the wave/particle opposition to the integral revolution of the “wavicle” is the challenge facing humanity at the time that Tambellini’s art has its premiere exhibition.

It was with the emergence from underground of Tambellini’s art prompted by the 2005 discovery by his archivist, Anna Salamone, of work that had literally been lost for thirty years, that the Ouroboric cycle of his opus could be completed: impregnation (“The Black Seed of Cosmic Creation Series”), gestation (“To Be Enveloped by Black Series”), birth (“On Becoming Series”), life (“Manifesto Series”), dissolution (“Black IS Series”), death (“Destroyed Series”), rebirth (“Black Energy Suspended Series”).

To those of us who have often wondered how an individual artist can escape the gravitational force of history and embody the future in his work, surrendering to the ever-present origin, Aldo Tambellini, shamanic interpreter between paradigms, answers with the ominous and bracing text of his 1961 “manifesto,” The Cell Grew: “we are the primitives of a new era.”

FOOTNOTES

  1. Jean Gebser, The Ever-Present Origin, translated by Noel Barstad and Algis Mickunas (Ohio University Press, Athen, Ohio, 1984).  Gebser accounts for human progress through four mutations of consciousness: origin/archaic; magical; mythic; mental; and finally, integral structure, which by definition contains all previous stages.  His focus on the aperspectival makes him a prescient philosopher for a new modernist movement that isn’t limited by the shadow of the ego.
  2. The astrological Great Cycle is the approximate 26,000-year revolution of the Sun through the twelve constellations of the zodiac, with approximately 2,150 years marking an Age.  A New Age refers to the change in the constellation appearing at sunrise on the Vernal Equinox, the balance between night and day.  It is the rotation factor that takes us backwards in time, as we shift from the Age of Pisces to the Age of Aquarius.  This understanding that we are “moving backwards in time” to our “ever-present” origin which many link to Atlantis.
  3. The Ouroboros, an ancient alchemical symbol of circular time represented by a serpent eating its own tail, is the internal self-devouring of the artistic process.  The inner growth brings a wisdom that potentially releases an individual from linear time and subsequently, karmic cause and effect.
  4. In Sanskrit, kundalini literally means coiled, referring to the unconscious libidinal force, Shakti, or serpent power.  Coiled at the base of the spine, the activated kundalini is the potential for the fully awakened consciousness of a human being.  The term is becoming more prevalent in society due to the popularization of yoga, a Sanskrit word which means union.
  5. In 1998 Michael Turner coined the term “dark energy,” derived from Fritz Zwicky’s labeling of “dark matter” in the 1930s.  The term is a source of great mystery to scientists who have yet to make the connection between “dark energy” in space and the kundalini power latent in the body.  In writing about Tambellini’s art, I use the words interchangeably.
  6. Chakra, a Sanskrit word that translates as “wheel” or “turning,” is a vortex for the reception and transmission of energies.  The hermetic art views magical correspondences between the planetary energies and the chakras.
  7. The hieros gamos (Greek for sacred marriage) is the state of divine union of the opposites achieved in yoga through the union of the goddess Shaki and the god Shiva at the crown of the head, and sought in the alchemical conjunctio as the quintessential element uniting Sol (masculine) and Luna (feminine) under an eclipse cycle. The mythology of the Sacred Marriage Rites originated at the dawn of civilization in ancient Sumer (present day Iraq) as the public betrothal of the love goddess Inanna and her consort, Dumuzi.  As a pre-patriarchal love goddess, Inanna’s power of erotic attraction incorporated the sacred marriage in her androgynous persona, identifying herself as “Queen of Heaven and Earth.”
  8. Mircea Eliade, The Myth of Eternal Return (Pantheon, New York, NY 1954).
  9. The Mayan long count calendar ends on the Winter Solstice in 2012, causing much speculation regarding an apocalyptic event.  While many a career has been made out of prophecies surrounding this precipitous time of a paradigm leap, the obvious is rarely stated: the Mayans actually had a cyclical worldview of life/death/rebirth and it is this very fact of the end of a calendar and a new beginning that confronts the linear view of western time and the repression of the feminine wisdom honored by the Mayan religion.  The counterculture mythology surrounding 2012 has to do with the precession of the Winter Solstice Sun aligned with the central bulge of the black hole at the Galactic Center on December 21, 2012.
  10. John Major Jenkins, Maya Cosmogenesis 2012: The True Meaning of the Maya Calendar End Date (Bear & Co., Vermont 1998). Pluto crosses the Galactic Center every 248 years.  In 2010, the planet of “death and rebirth” conjuncts the Winter Solstice Sun at the “Sacred Tree” crossing point of the Galactic Equator and the Ecliptic under the conjunctio of a lunar eclipse, a celestial event reinforcing the universality of the Mayan cosmology.
  11. Richard Tarnas, Cosmos and Psyche: Intimations of a New World View (Plume, Penguin Group, New York, NY, 2007).  This monumental book is a definitive study of the transpersonal energies of the outer planets, their relationships (sacred geometry) and cycles, on human evolution.  Linking an intuitive knowledge of the chakras and the Tarnas philosophy of human co-creation with planetary cycles, Tambellini’s aesthetic struggle to integrate heaven and earth delivers the ancient alchemical adage of “as above, so below” into the dialectic of art.
  12. The creative feminine divine, denied and repressed for millennia, entered western consciousness as the physical form of the Black Madonna, These black cult figures carried the arcane Templar legend of the Black Virgin as the bride of Jesus carrying his child,
  13. C.G. Jung, Two Essays on Analytical Psychology, (Meridian Books, New York, 1956) 120-21.
  14. Richard C. Hoagland and Mike Barra, Dark Mission (Feral House, Los Angeles, 2007) 59.  See chapter two for the Russian development of the Hyperdimensional model, which was hidden behind the Iron Curtain until the collapse of the U.S.S.R
  15. Ibid.  While potentially the “theory of everything,” the Hyperdimensional model has remained uninvestigated by western science.  The authors tie the repression with a NASA cover-up of extra-terrestrial activity on the Moon and Mars.  Whatever the reluctance of the scientific community to test this theory, it does account for the predictive potential of astrology.  The Hyperdimensional Election of Barack Obama and 2012 (www.redicecreations) gives a compelling explanation as to why Pluto, a small body rotating at a great distance, has such an extraordinary power.   Its very distance, along with a highly irregular and elliptical orbit, acts as a lever in the solar system.
  16. Jonas Mekas, Village Voice, (June 23, 1966)
  17. http://www.psychovision.ch.  Dr. Remo Roth, a student of Jung’s disciple Marie Louise Von Franz, translates and interprets an exchange of letters pertaining to the hieros gamos.
  18. www.gaiamind.com On January 23, 1997 there was a hexagon configuration between heaven and earth that would seem to be a manifestation of this prophecy.  The hexagram is a symbol for the hieros gamos.
  19. The term is increasingly used to transcend the either/or duality of quantum mechanics.  In using these quantum terms to identify a holistic structure, I am negating the duality at the foundation of quantum mechanics, while at the same time honoring the belief system that, at least, acknowledged this duality.
  20. K.C. Cole, Something Wonderful Happens: Frank Oppenheimer and the World He Made Up (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Boston, MA, 2009), 146-47.  In her biography of Frank Oppenheimer, founder of the Exploratorium Museum, Cole gives an up-to-date mainstream journalistic view of the wavicle: “One the face of it, nothing can be a wave (which extends in space) and a particle (which is concentrated in one place) at the same time.  But this is how nature has arranged things.  The fact that the human mind hasn’t evolved to grasp such a dual thing as a ‘wavicle,’ as some have called it, is beside the point.”
  1. In Cosmos and Psyche, Tarnas states on page 15: “The postmodern mind may eventually be seen as having constituted a necessary transitional stage between epochs, a period of dissolving and opening between larger sustained cultural paradigms.”  On page 63: “I believe now that only this direct encounter with empirical data that one has personally investigated can effectively serve to overcome extreme resistance that virtually every person educated within the modern context must initially experience towards astrology.”

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