Luis Geraldes Book
Process and Creativity
What do we imagine the Big Bang to have been like? Nothing in our experience allows us even remotely to envisage the power of this most significant event in the history of the universe. I try to view in parallel the expansion after the big bang and the images that this evokes in my mind, with the expansion of the painting after the first splashes of paint, creating an analogy between both levels of creation. In some paintings, this activity presents us with a cataclysmic explosion that represents the universe as an expanding spherical bubble (Image 9), paradoxically finite but unbounded.
Painting as Immersion
In a sense, I become immersed in the painting as on a journey to a destination, using a system of devices to express a tangible dislocation of organic energy through the application of symbols. In this vocabulary of semiotics, I endeavour to develop awareness about the cosmic matter and its reactions between us-here and who is out there – between spirit and the scientific world.
Once the canvas has been prepared, I apply ink or gum based washes to block the primer and to create a visual effect on the surface. An analytical drawing is then produced that incorporates a number of mathematical equations and comparisons between quantifiable properties underneath the painting’s skin.
Emerging Order out of Chaos
Colour is then applied with energetic gesture in order to evoke a sense of currents and shadows of cosmic energy scattered across the canvas, showing obvious signs of sharp thunder and light. The colours are rendered in layers of meanings concerned with the existence of various opposite powers or systems, which circulate and interact within either order or chaos. In other paintings, I work as an alchemist playing with creation. Energy and matter are placed over the canvas in a light and dark form to analogically symbolize in an evolving sequence galaxies being born and dying. In between masses of gas, dark and light matter waves of fluids are floating in an expanding flat universe.
As the painting progresses, the process is retarded or accelerated with the oxidation/drying process of the oil paint using oils from poppy, walnut, sunflower or damar varnish mixed with the oil paint. I continue the process of creation by throwing paint onto the surface of the canvas, which now resembles numerous galaxies and various solar systems.
I attempt to represent the cosmic system with spiralling compositions. The strong and soft intensity of the mark and gesture thick/thin medium emulates the tension in the intensity of the formation and evolution of the cosmic system. I am aiming to create engagement and strategies for contemplation, repose and calm in a rather intense questionable time about cosmic discovery.
In “Upper Worlds Versus Lower Worlds”, the atmosphere in the upper left area of the painting is covered with a dense sprayed skin of planets resembling clouds filled with scattered cosmic energy floating in an expanding multi-dimensional universe surrounded by waves of sounds or “cosmic music”. The bottom left section of the painting resembles a rather enigmatic landscape/seascape where various esoteric diagrams are superimposed to express the knowledge and wisdom at large.
On the right side of the bottom part of the painting, a geometric grid of squares are used to represent particles of light reflecting an enigmatic world. These appear like living creatures as if just out of the womb, floating and creating dynamic rhythms, like trains of vortices in the various atmospheres. Behind this enigmatic structure are cells in various stages of development within a shape of an egg, resembling a growing activity of organisms in our body, or perhaps a cosmic vessel transporting life across worlds that surrounds us at various levels. On the top right side, there are two rectangles, the bottom section is representing science concerns through the use of the atom symbol, the one above is referring to spiritual concerns and its relationship to science.
The painting is about a manifestation of timeless symbols, including the cosmic egg and its relationship to life and death, concentric circles to refer to micro and macro cosmos analysis, the elemental power and various opposites and parallel complexities.
Art and Alchemy
At some point the descending and ascending of masses of energy create rhythmic symphonies from various yet to be discovered corners of the cosmos, interweaving, creating an awareness of the multiple levels of reading and listening within the paintings. Schwenk inquires:
May not the great cosmic events in the universe have their effect in the ‘sensitive’ surfaces of contact in the atmospheric mantle of our earth? The laws of the heavens address themselves to these membranes as though speaking into delicate ears (Schwenk, 1965: 110). Also, Nietzsche stated:
The anaxagorean intelligence is an artist the mightiest genius of mechanics and the art of building. By the simplest means, it creates the most magnificent forms and pathways – a kind of mobile architecture – and yet it does so out of the irrational caprice that lies deep within the artist. It is as if anaxogoras were to point to Phidias and Exciaim to us, in the presence of that immense artwork, the cosmos – and in full view of the Parthenon – that becoming is not a moral but aesthetic phenomenon (Nietzsche, 1999: 335). Then, inexorably across the silent skies, life is viewed in blurred dialogue – an invisible mirror of embryonic life is expected in the various cycles of life development. The creative act, then, is an act of magic, engaging with the organisms surrounding us. It is a theosophical alternative construction that reinforces a universal cosmic language.
This section focused on the process of creativity, that is, on describing the various activities that converge in the act of painting. Far from seeing the process of viewing the elements and principles of painting as precursors to the final work, I have tried to show that process (the act of painting) and outcome (the painting itself) should not be seen in isolation, but rather are complementary activities. Just as the visible cosmos embodies the cataclysmic processes that brought it into existence, so also my paintings mirror a process of creativity.