Review of Stuart Bigley's Artwork by Steve Worthy
To Stuart Bigley,
After viewing your entire gallery of 22 paintings, I was provoked and inspired to share my feedback with you and your audience.
The artistic visions of Stuart Bigley’s paintings are an exceptional example of a 21st Century artist, tuning his heart mind and body to a higher harmonic frequency. This ability allows artists like Mr. Bigley to bring invisible forces at work in the universe to a level where fellow human beings can feel these forces through their “mind’s eye”. He has no time for those that need a “clinical trial study, complete with blind placebos” that often produce wide divergent and disagreeing camps, who worship at the temple of modern science. Just like in the days of the Renaissance in Europe in the Middle Ages, none of the great painters like Albrecht Durer, Raphael, Michelangelo and DaVinci had the patience or asked permission of the established and conflicting orders of the battling Churches of Protestantism and Catholicism, or egoist monarchies bent on their own notions of want and desire than the responsibilities to the populace that revered their splendor. Did they ask, “What is the nature of Beauty, Love and Truth, your Grace?” No, they forged ahead, so much as illustrated the answers with shining humanity, radiant sensitivity and with a direct concord and intercourse with Nature.
I just attended the annual spring Beltane Festival at the Symbolic Center for the Arts, which celebrates the both Celtic-centric and worldwide phenomenon of blessing the earth’s regenerative powers after dark and cold winters. The Center is headed by Stephen and Robin Larsen, both authors of the biography, “Fire In The Mind”, about the iconoclastic professor of comparative religion at Sarah Lawrence College, Joseph Campbell. Campbell became famous after he and PBS host Bill Moyers collaborated on a six-part PBS series, entitled, The Power of Myth, a media milestone (in book form and documentary film) of linking the world cultures in common rituals of birth, maturity, marriage, death, the afterlife, religion, sacrifice and rebirth. The program ended with this question: who will provide the next set of myths, that will take mankind to a new global understanding of consciousness and what it is capable of, of what values humanity will take into outer space, and what tools of communication will carry us forward from the edge of oblivion? Most likely, it will again be a new breed of shamanistic and transformative artists, like Stuart Bigley and others, who will lead the way.
These paintings, with dominant motifs of spiraling and concentric circles, that are open, not closed, suggesting the many cells of organisms, past, present and future, like the ever-percolating soup of genes, atoms and molecules that will continue to collide, merge and rejuvenate their essence, long after certain human establishments wrote laws outlawing, and then allowing these processes to perform their miracle work-healing the planet, purging the toxins, and regenerating new life in higher levels of physical, mental and spiritual consciousness.
There are shifts in perspective that are mysterious- are we viewing from above, below, through a haze, in microscopic close-up, or dramatically through a super-telescope from another galaxy? Yes, it does matter, and you will get from these paintings what you intend. If the intention is kinship, you will find infinite ancestral connections. If you like dissonance, the paintings, brushstrokes, murky washes, and vibrant colors move like a music with carnival cacophony-all participants claim their right to revel in their respective skins. Try telling a tree frog not to sing, or a violin not to play. The very wind vibrates with similar lush music, if we stop long enough to listen. Tuning in and tuning out, is not possible, only adjusting one’s receiver to another source: some higher, some lower, some whose noise is white, pink, black or blue. Bigley’s work entices you to gently and slowly choose a connection to a deeper well of inspiration, to look past the surface of his “metaphorical mirror-scapes”, and sift through and find your own dream or vision. Narcissus, archetypal inner witness, is alive and well within you. Let him come forth and manifest an image that is needed to show you how far life has taught you. Were you listening? Did you feel a lesson of love in some experience that was too close, overwhelming or painful to enjoy, so it was buried into cells that turned cancerous when the cells sensed that no one cared about them, that cried for attention, but got lost in the many distractions, billboards, blogs of modern life? Swirling in this stew pot of shapes, colors and textures, it’s not too late to discover one’s your own reflection, which you can then use as a reference for the current instant in time, that signals a change, a need, a location, an energy that today will not accept what was accepted yesterday. Bigley’s art is always in motion, in flux and capable of relating to your mood and vibration. Are the distances between his elements measured in microns, feet, or light-years? Pay more attention to the intensity, the translucent, glowing, dissipating and re-integrating interplay! The artist has caught this shifting cosmos, like lightning or sparks into the canvas, rather than in a bottle. But you’d rather have a canvas than a bottle anyway, wouldn’t you? The bottle will eventually empty its contents, but Bigley’s images will reward you many times over, like a voice from beyond when you need it, heed it or reach out for comfort. We would be most fortunate if more artists took into consideration the connectedness and well-being of their audience, who are often more frightened and in need of comforting, in these unsettling times