Critical Trilogy

a critic's millennial journey



The divine feminine born out of the sacred marriage and therefore indifferent to the male gaze!!! "The Spiritual Descent of The Bicycle Becomes The Second-Birth of Flight: Part Eleven – IX" Orpheus One 2007, 2010

My images are created to be means

for any and every perceiving, feeling,

and fully participating viewer

to “Locate” fundamental and Really Perfect Light–

the world as Light,

all relations as Light,

conditions (or naturally perceived) light

As Absolute Light

— Adi Da Samraj

About five years ago, I was leaving a Chelsea galley with my friend Peter Frank, when he said: “You have set a difficult task for yourself.”

“What is that?” I asked.

“To find the spiritual in art,” he replied.

Was he joking?  I never really know with Peter the wit, the punster.

From my 1997 launch as newspaper critic, I managed to interpret from within my own reality structure established through an experiment catalyzed by a Heaven meets Earth  planetary configuration which metaphysicians were interpreting as the gateway to the Age of Aquarius.

But in the time that has passed since I stopped writing regularly for the public about art, the only passage forward was surrender, as there didn’t seem to be any existing track for my journey to uncover the post-patriarchal archetypes.  The New York art world has little concern with spirituality in art.  Surviving, never mind triumphing, in New York City requires a great deal of ego.  For the last two decades, it was the ambition of pushing the slick and salable object into an insatiable market.  Currently, it is illusion of finding the “next great artist” through the competition of a “reality” TV show.

"The Spiritual Descent of The Bicycle Becomes The Second-Birth of Flight: Part Eleven – VIII from Orpheus One" 2007, 2008 – Lacquer on aluminum, 72 x 71 inches / 183 x 180 cm

Fortunately, the New York premiere of Adi Da Samraj at Sundaram Tagore Gallery in Chelsea revealed a new modernism — that ironically for a self-declared avatar– resolved the postmodern obstacle of ego.  Not only because the artist is dead, but because the fallen guru managed an entire trajectory of death and rebirth the last decade without being tempted by the prospect of fame.  The hand that removed itself from the physical manifestation of his vision was also the hand that waved away the viscitudes of fame and fortune, and the audience expectations that come with such an unholy pursuit.

Yet, it turns out that Peter Frank led me onto “Orpheus and Linead,” Adi Da Samraj’s premiere exhibition in Chelsea!  It began with an e-mail “By way of Peter Frank” which contained an invitation to a special preview from  Mei-Ling Israel, author of The World as Light, a fascinating book about the evolution of the avatar’s vision into the material of his art.  The images from the exhibition didn’t initially attract me.  They were so blatantly digital with primary color combinations reminiscent of a child’s plastic game.  The viewing experience was jarring; how could their source be organic?  Yet, I found his videos so compelling that I did some research.  After reading much about the avatar Adi Da Samraj, and nothing about his art, I was prepared to dismiss him as yet another of the stream of fallen gurus that have appeared in my path…

But in an internet search for his astrology chart, I discovered this writing from his appointed astrologer, the Broken Yogi Samyana:

As mentioned in an earlier piece on the astrological view of the universe as an endless series of cycles, I got my start in astrology on something of a lark. As a strong skeptic and disdainer of all things astrological, I felt at a certain point that I should actually look into it and see if there was anything useful or meaningful or even true about it. Rather than simply read the literature, which seemed rather puerile for the most part, I simply used astrological software to plot out star patterns, using a charting method of my own devising, to see if there really were significant correspondences between star patterns and life patterns, studying most directly the life of my Guru at the time, Adi Da. What I found defied rationalistic explanation, and I began to formulate ideas and theories about how these correspondences could be meaningful, and deducing from the patterns what the underlying meanings of various astrological patterns were. In some respects these meanings confirmed traditional astrological literature, but at other times they stood in stark contrast, and implied a different understanding than the literature seemed to hold true.

After a year or so I wrote up a very long paper detailing some of these findings, along with a set of “test predictions” which could be used to verify their value, and sent it to Adi Da. His inner circle were quite excited about it, and told Adi Da what I had done, but he wanted to see nothing of it until time had proven or disproven the predictions I had. After another year or so, so many of the predictions I had made had come to pass that they felt comfortable presenting my work to Adi Da, and he approved of it, asking me to be his personal astrologer. After spending retreat time with him, he modified and expanded the function to simply “studying his pattern”. During this time, he also gave a significant amount of instruction on his view of the universe as an endless series of patterns emerging in consciousness, and a fair amount of that instruction involved astrology and my use of it in relation to him and his inner circle.

Adi Da’s view of the conditional cosmos is, essentially, that of a machine that constantly spits out patterns. In his view, the entire cosmos is a single pattern that is endlessly modified at every level and viewpoint, which, while always appearing differently in every time and place, yet retains the same basic patterning. Therefore it is possible in his view to study any kind of phenomena at the level of pattern, and if one compares it to any other phenomenal pattern, the correspondences will reveal the something about the greater pattern of the universe itself. In his view, astrology is just one particular way of studying a pattern and seeing its correspondences with other patterns. One could do the same thing with tea leaves, or lines on one’s palm, or the birds in one’s backyard. Any patterning correspondence studied with enough attention and depth will reveal the same universal patterning, and yield insight into what is going on everywhere else in the cosmic pattern. This is in fact what Adi Da liked about my approach to astrology. Many people in Adidam speculated that he approved of my approach to astrology because of my devotion to him, as a way of drawing me into relationship to him, etc. Some of that may be true, but primarily it was because my approach to astrology was based on looking for real correspondences rather than just superimposing rote meanings on the star patterns and the patterns of the life of whomever’s astrological pattern I was looking at.

This view of patterning fits my experience.  I have had my astrology chart read many times, my palms read, my numerology and voice analyzed.  My tarot card readings were invaluable aids to my life journey.  In revealing the same pattern, these insights were my introduction into magic — the raising of my vibration — as the practice by which I could overcome them.  So, I was intrigued and prepared to re-enter Chelsea with an empty mind.  I entered the gallery with a single goal — to experience the art of Adi Da Samraj, not as a critic, but as a participant in a subjective search for — well nothing, in particular.

How could I resist an artist who claims he has a key to unlock me from my patterns?

My visit to the gallery knocked me out.  The power of the New bounced right off the smooth surfaces and reverberated deep into my psyche.  The tremendous scale, the sleek surfaces that seemed to mock the postmodern with the depth of their meaning.  The sacred marriage of opposites on the surface symmetry/irregular geometries of meaning as well as the objective/non-objective merging of abstract and figuration.  The newly imbedded archetypes of liberation busting up old patterns.  I left feeling incredibly free and optimistic about the future of art.

The shock of discovering what I had long given up expecting to find in Chelsea took over a month to sink in.  I wasn’t ready to penetrate Mei-Ling’s book or the catalog until September 29, and I didn’t write a review until I returned from the October 9 closing with Peter Frank .

"The Spiritual Descent of The Bicycle Becomes The Second-Birth of Flight: Part Eleven – XI" from Orpheus One 2007, 2008 – Lacquer on aluminum, 84 x 41 inches / 213 x 104 cm

“Ultimately, when “point of view” is transcended, there is no longer any separate self at all–but only love-bliss-brightness, limitlessly felt, in vast unpatterned joy.”  Adi Da Samraj

Adi Da’s position on astrology can be found in:

Three Views of Reality and Human Potential
Book 8 of The Practical Spirituality Series


October 19, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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