Critical Trilogy

a critic's millennial journey

THE FUTURE IS HERE: Michael Manning’s “Everyday Hero” at Silvermine

“The Light Bulb” (Everyday Hero)” by Michael Manning, 2009; 72 x 74″ acrylic and oil stick on canvas

… went on and I had a revelation in the parking lot of Silvermine Guild Arts Center while talking to the delightful Camilla Cook after being knocked out by an exhibition of Michael Manning’s new series, “Everyday Hero.”  Like God reaching out from the heavens to extend a …

"Helping Hand" (Everyday Hero), 2009 by Michael Manning; 96 x 144", acrylic and oil stick on canvas

It was like lightening striking, as the work itself, on a deep unconscious level then (I didn’t look at the titles) and highly conscious level now during this posting (as I place the labels on the works),  delivered me full circle —

"Tape 1" (Everyday Hero) by Michael Manning, 2010. Acrylic and oil stick on canvas.

…not just physically back to the site of my first newspaper art review in the spring of 2001; but to the completion of a journey begun in 1983 when I plunged into the Underworld of Argentina in chaos where I began writing autobiographical fiction in a seemingly endless role as …

"The Plumber" (Everyday Hero) by Michael Manning, 2010; 70 x 6o" acrylic and oil stick on canvas-1

…to the female psyche.  I returned to Los Angeles in the late 1980s, and in the rootlessness of the desert environment, I ran around looking for a cure to the surcharge of kundalini energy (and its dis-ease of nonstop writing) from my 1983 awakening over my father’s casket.  My search gave me …

"Priority Seating" (Everyday Hero) by Michael Manning, 2010; 84 x 80", acrylic and oil stick on canvas

…at the  intersection between the big concept high flying eighties and the inward pull of New Age metaphysics chronicled in my many writings.   Michael Manning, a Black Belt, is the most wonderful collaborator a woman could ask for.  Patient, wise, strong and focused — he brought the masculine support and stability of the…

"Right Hand Man" (Everyday Hero) by Michael Manning, 2010; 58 x 68" acrylic and oil stick on canvas

…that I couldn’t even have imagined in my dreams.  It is because of him that I made it this far in the narrative to present the entire trajectory at Silvermine on Sunday, November 22, 2010:

Here is an excerpt from Kundalini’s Daughter: Critical Trilogy, Vol. I that I will be reading tomorrow under the full circle of this Full Moon prior to a humdinger of a lunar eclipse on the eve of the Winter Solstice:

When Joseph Campbell zoomed into the collective consciousness with the 1988 The Power of Myth television documentary series, I was working as a Hollywood script analyst. Follow your dream and you will be awakened. In search of the myth guiding the transition into the Age of Aquarius, the Dream Merchants sent a memo around about the cinematic arc of the Hero’s Journey. My mind was always pondering the Heroine’s Journey while combing through a weekly stack of scripts that were progressively becoming more misogynistic.

At this time, Cosmic Ray entered my life. This barefoot hippie revolved around the Los Angeles astrology constellation with his personalized star charts. “You don’t use these myths,” he would tell his clients, many of them working in the film industry. “The myths use you.”

In renouncing the traditional wheel to establish his own method of forecasting from linear star maps of the heavens drawn in allegorical images, Cosmic Ray was a radical. He gave readings from long pieces of grey cardboard covered with the outlines of figures personifying the constellations in space. He placed the planets on a line, representing the ecliptic plane. The path was drawn through these mythical characters, like stationary actors on a movie screen awaiting the passage of a wanderer, or planet orbiting the Sun, to dial up an internal e-motion. And like the planets, the Sun also moves on an ecliptic through the ring of constellations known as the zodiac, which gives us our solar year.

Children, he would say, look at his maps and pull out their familial stories by pointing to the pictures – Andromeda, the chained princess, for their charming yet helpless mother who expects others to come to her rescue, or the romantic dreamer in a musician brother born under Orpheus and ignited by love as Venus passed by.

At the time of stumbling into this intriguing character at an astrology workshop in Los Angeles, I had begun my personal quest in earnest and was eager to learn my myth so I could, well, use it.

“How do we recognize our myth?”

This book and blog, and all  my writing both fictional and non-fictional, is an answer to the above question.  With the stroke of a shamanic interpreter between realms, Michael Manning brilliantly sums it in his iconic image of the hero(ine)’s journey, integrating text and image into a sacred marriage of masculine and feminine, conscious and unconscious, dark and light.
This series places his genius at the forefront of a newly emerging movement of an ascending paradigm which I have tirelessly sought to filer through my body as a blogger!

"Hero's Path" (Everyday Hero) by Michael Manning, 2010; collage, acrylic and oilstick

BRAVO Michael, and a boutiful and wondrous Solar Return to you tomorrow, under the Full Moon when I will be delivering our personal mythical journey as collaborators into a universal narrative!!

Michael Manning at his opening of "Everyday Hero" at Silvermine Gallery in September, surrounded by fellow image makers. He, among men, knows that the female is the image maker and he has feminine energy to spare!

Michael Manning:  Artist Statement

Throughout my life I have been attracted to the stories I have encountered in mythology and religion, and this has been expressed in much of my work. At an early age I questioned the meaning and purpose behind these stories and the messages they were imparting. Initially I rejected them, but through exploring them more deeply in my work and in my life, I came to truly appreciate how diversity yet similar these stories and their messages were.

My paintings began to use stories within mythology, along with my perspective of right and wrong, as a framework for addressing current issues faced by society. While my use of mythology has been vital, my current work has established a more immediate relevance. I’ve been able to deal more directly with issues of morality, mortality, and injustice. With the use of traditional mythology as a foundation, I see the new work as a kind of new mythology—new stories, commenting on current issues. These stories have been constructed from my individual point of view, but with universal significance and meaning.

The current series of paintings I am working on focuses on a central archetypal hero figure that uses the traditional hero pattern, laid out by Joseph Campbell as a starting point for many of the paintings. With the traditional hero pattern as a background, the traditional deeds and adventures of the hero are substituted with events found in everyday life. The end results are narrative paintings that use allegorical images to show every day events as equivalent to the actions of a classic mythological hero.


November 20, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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