Critical Trilogy: Kundalini’s Daughter

a critic's millennial journey

AARON OLSHAN: GENIUS WHOSE TIME HAS COME

"Guardians" by Aaron Olshan, mixed media 2009

The contemporary New York art scene this week became a theater for commercialization to the point where the rarity of the authentic art-ti-fact has been obscured under the capitalist aim of commodity as a shared social experience.

Have we truly forgotten the original intent of art within a civilization — to transmit a truth that cannot otherwise be seen by the human collective?  What of the Promethean spirit, who undergoes great personal risk to  transmit this truth?  Isn’t this the reason why, in times of confusion like today, the fissures in the social fabric create the openings for genius to deliver its gift?  From where and how does such original creative spirit emerge?

"Emergence" by Aaron Olshan, mixed media 2009

Genius hides in plain sight.  Why is this truth revealed again and again — even in this age of 24/7 media?  The answer is simple; until tapped by the need of the collective, the individual carrying this original vision has no outward function.  Rather, they are held underground, as if in a straightjacket,  to prepare for the immensity of the task which awaits them.  If they are artists shaping their material into a radical new vision, the work itself reveals the process of breakthrough and becomes the essential artifact of the crucial time of change.

The Guardians provide this gift of time…

"Gift of Time" by Aaron Olshan, mixed media on wood, 2009

From this perspective, fissures in the social fabric await a new structure…

…to a radical awakening.  This is a physical, tangible reality in my beloved Chile — where I imbedded myself to about the quantum wave collapse last year.  The nation formed between two seismic plates did so under the sign of Aquarius.  Where Chile goes “Awakening” into the New Paradigm, so goes the world.

"Awakening" by Aaron Olshan, mixed media on wood, 2009

The period marking the close of a decade of transition — from the death of postmodernism to the rise of a holistic new movement —  was crucial in separating the chaff from the wheat, the old paradigm from the New.  Yet, with the rise of Venus last week, I have received earthly signs the change has entered the collective.

For example, on may way into the city to visit Aaron’s studio, I received a crucial sign from a fellow Aquarian whose art was a crucial launch pad for my search for the hieros gamos in art;  Peter Gabriel, his latest public expression of the “sacred marriage” in a New York Times article “I’ll Sing Yours, You Sing Mine” unveiling a scheme:  every full moon he plans to release a two-song digital download on iTunes.   Talk about celebrating the cosmic cycles!

Chiefly, emergence is a factor of timing.

So, it is with Aaron Olshan, who I met almost precisely a decade ago at a screening of the film Pollock, Ed Harris’ film about a genius rising to meet the zeitgeist and subsequently falling because he couldn’t hold the energy of fame.  Aaron was my guide — not only to the characters in the film, but the actors who were playing them.  “I know everyone!” he declared and insisted on being my guide to the art world.  For all the false irony being booted around the New York art world at the time, there was a telling authentic irony of at the root of our relationship:  in the decade I have known him, I have never experienced Aaron in an exhibition.  It seemed to me that his work had to be hidden until the voice that could interpret it was properly prepared to do so.

How to find a simple, comprehensible language for the complexity of a new archetype?  This was a decade-long struggle that will be placed before the public in my next exhibition Woman of the Twenty-First Century: Margaret Fuller and the Sacred Marriage. In fact, the exhibition will have as a centerpiece the single image (below) I had been seeking since I met Aaron in 2000!  The icon of the hieros gamos for the Age of Aquarius!

"Garden of Eden" by Aaron Olshan, mixed media on wood, 2009

Genius hides in plain sight.  It can’t be any other way.  It has to be an outsider, but close enough to the inside to understand the change that is necessary to awaken society.  I can’t think of any artist in the New York art world who better fits this description than Aaron Olshan.

"Rebirth" by Aaron Olshan, mixed media on wood, 2009

He handed me a dog-eared clip from the New York Times Arts and Leisure, with a tender portrait of him and his father, the artist Bernard Olshan.  Instead of a business card, he handed me something resembling a scroll images of his paintings that looked like Sumerian pictoral language: each piece with its own distinct character containing the holistic vision of the entirely.

This was an early indication of what was going on inside him, what immense energy was forming in unconscious that he was tapping into.

"Pagan Portrait" by Aaron Olshan, oil on wood, 2007

Even if I didn’t know this in his presence, it would be made clear when I viewed his astrology chart.  Born under a Pisces New Moon rising in his 12th house.  What better signature for an artist: tapping into “Ancient Dreams” and making them new for the millennial transition between the ages.

"God Bird Change" by Aaron Olshan, mixed media on rag paper, 2001

He was a self-identified pagan, about to go through a transformation, and our shared vision from the future informed the urban pagan journey chronicled in Kundalini’s Daughter, whose birth we celebrated on the Winter Solstice.

"Messenger" by Aaron Olshan, oil on canvas, 2006

Eternal Return embedded into his horoscope, which, in turn, is coded into his paintings through a “sacred marriage” of color, form, light and narrative that puts the last nail in the coffin of the 20th century debate between objective/nonobjective painting because a past duality has become a seamless unity.  Aaron’s entire life as an artist – indeed his many past lives, were spent preparing for the past two years birth: an all encompassing narrative of Eternal Return specific to our time — the transition to the Aquarian Age…

"The Golden Age" by Aaron Olshan, mixed media on wood, 2009

I began writing this post about Aaron on my ride back from his studio on March 2.  That night I had a dream so real it served as a direct experience of change.  I was lying in an empty parking lot trying to sleep.  It was a feeling of profound alienation, being so close in proximity, yet shut out of the consumer culture that now defines America.  Then a parade of powerful public personalities crashed through the night scene. Mick Jagger.  Cindy Lauper.  I had a vision of what they were like before their star rose — when they had to work the odd job to survive, just like the rest of us.

Everyone had to do something utterly ordinary while they were waiting for the zeitgeist to tap them as extraordinary, didn’t they?  This paradox reveals what makes for genius: the structure  (Saturn) capable of carrying the zeitgeist (Uranus) which comprises the dual planetary rulership of Aquarius.

Aaron and I made a full circle and shared a meal at the diner near his studio.  It was the same spot where we discussed a decade ago what venue would be appropriate to write about his work.  There was no instantaneous dissemination of ideas through blogs then, nor POD publishing.

This time, I asked him what he will do with his new fortune.  He flashed me his Aaron smile, ear to ear, and said. “I will buy better materials.” And with that Aaron look of rapture, he added.  “There is a tube of cobalt paint…”

Curious, I look up cobalt, not at all surprised to discover it is a “necessary nutrient for all life.”  A fitting material for the genius whose time has come!

"Human Epilogue" by Aaron Olshan, mixed media 2009

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March 6, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 1 Comment

ALDO TAMBELLINI: BIRTH OF GENIUS

"Pregnant Woman" by Aldo Tambellini

1
each planet revolves
on its own individual orbit
exerting a magnetic force
inside the protective cocoon
where the unborn
is nourished by the blood
of woman & mother earth
breathes energy from
the cosmic womb
through space-time mystery
we come to a world
known & unknown

2
suspended
on a shadow universe of
dark matter
can you inhale the immense sky?
close your eyes
read the sky

This is the ravishing poem that Aldo Tambellini sent me on my way to Cambridge on February 22.  It was written about Pregnant Woman (above) that will be in my upcoming exhibition at the Pierre Menard Gallery, Woman in the 21st Century: Margaret Fuller and the Sacred Marriage, taking place as part of the Margaret Fuller Bicentennial.

Aldo Tambellini, text from the 1960s

I was headed to Cambridge for an event at the Harvard Film Archives, presented by its erudite director Haden Guest, whose razor sharp introduction cut to the heart of the matter: the timeless value of the artist’s groundbreaking work in experimental film in the 1960s.

http://hcl.harvard.edu/hfa/films/2010janmar/tambellini.html

“Why black? That is a big philosophical question,”  Aldo said from the podium, adding.  “That is enough.”

Aldo Tambellini and Harvard Film Archives Director Haden Guest in an unintentionally black photo

The program was initiated with Black on Black, a short video released last year which sums up Tambellini’s boundary smashing vision combining his many disciplines to a virtual iconography of blackness.  His poetry  is sculpted on the screen and read by Neiel Israel and Askia Toure’ (below).  Words form spirals and a sphere that enters the consciousness like an eternal chant “Creation and Destruction.  Destruction and Creation.”

“I became conscious because of the racial, the cosmic, the visual aesthetic,” the artist said after the screening.  “The first cosmanuat who walked in space said it was black.  I was really excited.”

Aldo and I had an instant connection at our impromptu meeting at Pierre Menard Gallery last summer.  He was finishing up his meeting with gallery owner John Wronoski when I walked in and was immediately drawn to one of his  black paintings (above) propped against the gallery wall. “WOW!”  Pure Kundalini in its natural form of the spiral. I was enthralled.  Was it the genius or his paintings?

Both!  He was with his partner, Anna Salamone, who told me how the artist’s works were rediscovered after being thought lost for many years.  My  hands moved, completely on their own to channel  the Kundalini energy into the aura of the artist  that my connection with his art had ignited in my spine  I never in my life had such an experience of a cycle being completed in a single moment of time!  From the creator to the observer instantaneously transformed into participant generating energy received from the art into the creator.

The New Paradigm revealing itself!

Aldo still claims today, with some surprise, that I completely understood his art with that initial connection with his painting,  Yet, there seem to be no limitations to his depth of understanding about the universe and the hidden truths surrounding the time and space connection  I am constantly discovering new things about Aldo Tambellini and his crystalline vision of an interconnected universe.  “We earthlings are all one!” It isn’t just talk, but he lives it.  Always remaining on the outside, but close enough to reveal his knowledge of the “The Screw” (actually a performance that went with the SCREW Paper published to encourage ” an anonymous generation to arise,” see description at http://aldotambellini.com/video.html)  That is the Heisenberg Principle at work!  With this understanding of his role as participant and observer in his own interactive artistic experiments, Aldo absorbed the Shadow, or Saturn.

Aldo Tambellini birth chart; April 29, 1930, 3:00 AM EDT Syracuse, New York

By understanding his role (eleventh house Saturn) as  leader of a new (Mars in Aries) movement in the collective, he could turn his attention to the transpersonal energies represented by Uranus (television) and Neptune (film).

Working with the very material of these mediums, he transformed his art, and himself in the process, into a vessel of transpersonal energies. In astrological terms, he redefined art (the stelium in Taurus, the sign representing art, in the second house of values) as the capacity for human interconnection (the trine from the Taurus Sun and Moon to the Eleventh House Saturn).

The birth came through considerable opposition (Pluto opposing Saturn) and rebellious (Uranus) struggle (Aries) to claim the Self (First House) by acting, with his female partner, as midwife (Pluto in Cancer) to a Creative (Fifth House) movement (opposition to Saturn in its ruler of Capricorn strongly placed in the Eleventh House of the Collective)

have never been so deeply moved by any work of art as BLACK PLUS X Aldo’s short film about black kids at Coney Island; he reversed the negative so the kids were white and the water was black.

Anna quoted the Grove Press Catalogue which says the use of the negative was:  ”The artist’s answer to the race problem.”   And even though I am color blind in regards to race, it turned my perceptions up-side-down.  Getting on the subway at Harvard Square an elegant black man told me how much he liked my outfit.  We sat next to one another on the train and talked. He was from Africa and runs an interactive global development project.  It seemed to me that his soul was as deep as his skin was black.  So deep that it had no bottom.  Why, I thought, do such depths bother white people, so bound by their limitations?  Could our obsession with materialism be the “antidote” to our fear of such primal darkness?  Wouldn’t that mean a fear of deep space?  The Unknown?  I surrendered to his blackness, the depth of his soul, and by the time I got to Brookline, I believed this was the most beautiful human being I had ever met.

I related to what Askia Toure’, a black poet  said at Aldo’s film screening, “Aldo showed us that black is beautiful.”  How like the Black Madonna to deliver black Americans into the heights of the academy through the black medium of film!

OK.  So what is this message of birth coming from Anna and Aldo?  When I told Anna how much I would love to have Aldo in my show, she immediately knew what piece I was after, even though I didn’t know myself Pregnant Woman.  And then, Aldo sent me the poem, which provided the work with even deeper meaning than the secrecy of the Black Madonna that Margaret Fuller carried with her pregnancy of Angelito.

What I wrote in my Black Madonna essay was: the virgin just about to give birth below the altar at Chartes Cathedral.  Aldo has brought that ancient legend of the Black Madonna into the form that I didn’t even expect to discover in Black Madonna.  It is the form of the Black Madonna herself.

Pregnant Woman sums up Margaret Fuller on so many levels.

And I can see it all lined up in the heavens where Aldo’s art takes root.  In May, when the show goes up, Uranus, the Awakener will be contacting his Mars and entering the evolutionary passage through his T-Square.  I read this as the lift- off for completely comprehensive and interconnected ouevre.  Each passage unified, the whole trajectory reflects a New Paradigm — the cycle of universal interconnection that is the cosmos.

The Movement I have been actively seeking and writing about with the emergence of the icon of the 21st century was lacking the genius whose unification of art, practice and connection to the Self serve as a beacon to others struggling in the chaos of the paradigm shift.  Aldo was born under the cardinal T-square between the outer planets of Saturn, Pluto and Uranus that triggered the Great Depression. We are experiencing such a configuration this year as the world economic order breaks down.

The multidisciplinary art of Aldo Tambellini reveals the paradox of the creative genius: the deeper the plunge into the creative darkness, the bigger is the light.  Knowing Aldo has revealed in high relief the difference between creative for the sake of being creative and creative as a bringer of light to humanity, the true Promethean spirit.

Let me look at this poem more closely:

each planet revolves
on its own individual orbit
exerting a magnetic force
inside the protective cocoon
where the unborn
is nourished by the blood
of woman & mother earth

The “unborn” is the new archetype that was still in the womb of the feminine, engaged in an evolutionary step by step process to make the delivery into the collective consciousness.
breathes energy from
the cosmic womb
through space-time mystery
we come to a world
known & unknown

Here he draws a connection from the human to the cosmic, the personal to the universal.  The space -time mystery has to do with the timing of manifestation.  Aldo’s art has such a deep understanding of time as relative and non-linear.  When we enter the quantum reality of this newly emerging archetype, the Self, we have escaped linear time.  In effect, we experience the results before — rather than after — actions are taken.
Let’s look at the second part of the poem:
suspended
on a shadow universe of
dark matter
can you inhale the immense sky?
close your eyes
read the sky

Ok, well I read dark matter as the Kundalini.  Our surrender to this power removes us from our human limitations and connects us to the immense sky of the Cosmos.  The last two lines are like a Zen koan or riddle.  How can we read the sky if we close our eyes?  But there the connection between outer and inner is complete: As I quote Nassim Haramein: ‘When we go within, we encounter the universe.”

I always ask artists if what they do is conscious or not.  They inevitably say it is conscious.  Aldo has the best answer, which seems to be the only adequate answer: he is conscious, yet he is channeling an intelligence outside of himself.  I dare to presume to label this as the intelligence of the cosmic order revealing itself through the paradigm shift embodied in Pregnant Woman.

“There is no revolution without a man and a woman at its source,” says Aldo.  This is the reality that Margaret Fuller lived with her partner, Angelo Ofilli.  Their son, Angelino, was the child of the Italian Republican Revolution, born out of the unified passion of his parents.  In being forced to keep the child, and her marriage, a secret, Margaret Fuller became the Black Madonna.  And considering that the Black Virgin was the icon of the Templars, who still today aim to overthrow the Vatican, the myth she embodied — partner in the overthrow of the Pope to restore the ancient icon of the “sacred marriage” to rulership — was all too apt.

In Tambellini’s Pregnant Woman, Margaret Fuller is re-visioned as birth mother via a transcendent work of art — both personal ( the creator giving birth to himself) and universal (the earth mother nurturing the delivery of a new archetype into the collective consciousness in unison with cosmic timing).  The form at the foundation of this work is the Tambellini motif of the circle, the sphere. As woman gives birth to her true Self, she creates a new cosmos.  That is what we will be celebrating on May 23, 2010 when Woman of the 21st Century opens across the street from Harvard University, where Margaret Fuller now has an exhibition space dedicated to her!

Can academics continue to ignore the female genius that gave birth to the American literary canon, now reborn as a 21st century icon?

February 26, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 1 Comment

NEW MOON AQUARIUS

New Moon in Aquarius, 9:51 PM February 13, 2010, Stamford, CT

What an wave of energy!  The Aquarian New Moon conjunct Jupiter and Chiron. Mystic Crystal Revelations.  Electrical Shock Waves.

Alexander McQueen Giving Form to the Dark Feminine

Shock indeed at the news of Alexander McQueen’s death.  An obvious case of Kundalini burnout.  Too much, too soon, too fast.  As soon as I saw the news with a picture of him on the cover of the New York Post with his pants down, I instantly knew he had a Pisces Moon, but I didn’t figure the conjunction with the Sun and Mercury, along with a Pluto opposition.  He plumbed the depths to bring up the face of the Dark Feminine.  Indeed, many of his models wore make -up which was like hideous masks.  But he found the beauty in the ugly and this served a higher purpose.

See all those purple lines going across the chart?  McQueen’s Moon opposition Uranus had plenty of support from his personal planets, like Jack Kerouac, who I wrote about in my last post.  Indicating genius due to its placement, an uncanny instinct (Moon) and imagination (Pisces) of self-expression (Fifth House) reflecting currents of the zeitgeist (Eleventh House).  Both these men had humble roots and traveled great emotional distances (Moon square Mars in Sagittarius) to connect with spiritual traditions (Kerouac was Breton and McQueen was Scot), yet unable to cut the umbilical chord to their mothers, a condition only heightened by the isolation of fame.  It is this feeling of isolation, along with Kundalini burnout, triggering their tragic end, when the constricting, depressive energy of Saturn opposes their Moon.

Kerouac, in fact, died in 1969 — the year that McQueen was born.  What Kerouac was running away from in his literature, McQueen was bringing into fashion forty years later. Eerie.

February 13, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment