Small Works of Sacred Sexuality.
Overcoming the “Fig-Leaf Factor.”
I am a Scorpio. A strong one: 11/11 is my birthday. You can’t be more Scorpio than that. Some would say, “Oh, you can’t help it,” (having a strong libido and all.) But, it is more than that. To a Scorpio, Sexuality is a Seventh Sense—on top of the Sixth Sense of natural psychic ability that can see a lot—see beyond the appearances of things. Sacred Sexuality is something I explore in my painting.
I don’t see sexuality any less holy than anything supposedly “spiritual.” In fact, I see the sexual nature of things very spiritual, the seedbed of all creativity. And as we all know, we can misuse creativity and genius and go terribly amuck. On a large scale. People may cringe at a sexual reference in high art, for instance.
The Pope, after Michelangelo painted his masterpieces in the Sistine Chapel, made other artists paint out many of the genitals in Michelangelo’s Last Judgment. I call this the “Fig-Leaf Factor.” (Which is to say, “Cover up the darn things out of sexual shame.”) And then later, the church could condone the Inquisition and burn many innocent people at the stake. Which is more “profane?”—Michelangelo’s accurate and beautifully rendered anatomy of the human form, or false religious theology that could condone such a cruel travesty in the name of God?
But alas, this is not a history lesson, nor an apology for using sexual imagery in my work, especially in my Small Paintings. I painted a series of small works I called “Mother Pods.” I thought it was important for me, being a Scorpio and all, to overcome the “Fig-Leaf Factor.” Here is the first one.
Sometimes a shape or a gesture has the power of invocation. The Female Form is glorious, and honorable. After all, most of us, except maybe Babaji, or Melchizedek, came through one. Why not honor it as a noble subject of painting? We came out of it, and many of us men want to go right back into it. Some kind of bliss and safety of the womb we wish to re-experience. Even dying men on the battlefield cry out for Mother.
I painted these “Mother Pods” in upstate New York at a rebirthing school Sondra was teaching. They were my meditation while she was speaking, and I think it is inspiring to watch a painter paint. Others in the room thought so too. They were transfixed. But when one lady was so impressed by one of the Mother Pod’s and wanted to purchase it, her husband said, “Not over my dead body,” under his breath. (Definitely his mind was ruled by the “Fig-Leaf Factor.”) Not all can handle it, and unite sexual imagery with the spiritual experience. He was “English.”
The English are notorious for banning their most astute voices on this subject, as they did with D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterly’s Lover. No wonder. We Americans have inherited some of the same sexual inhibitions by cultural proximity. Lady Chatterly was banned in the USA as well. Sacred Sexuality, which is to say the honest truth about sex, had not yet come into vogue back around 1928 when Lawrence wrote it.
I painted on, though, having a good time doing it. For me these are “Pure Joy.” The colors are free; the strokes are direct and simple; and the subject is prominent but not overbearing or too literal. These are my gems of budding genitalia. They honor women’s most sacred zone, not demean it. As Lawrence honored it too. Not all sexually explicit images are “pornographic,” in the derogatory sense of the word — as Lawrence was finally published and recognized as producing high art. As was Michelangelo. Just look at David’s genitalia and see what I mean. Nothing more perfect had ever been sculpted.
Father Posts are my counterparts to Mother Pods.
Of course, I would balance out my repertoire of small sexual paintings with the male counterparts to the Mother Pods. I called these “Father Posts.” For me, having been to India so many times, they are almost synonymous to “Shiva Lingams” (my versions.)
The eternal vertical. This is what connects the “earthly plane” with the “heavenly plane” — the “Mother Matrix” with the “Father Seed.” This is not rocket science kids. It is the crux of Sacred Sexuality. It is what Life is all about in the spiritual/physical realms. And in the beginning there was the VOID, the blank canvas, the blank sheet of paper, the blank mind that can receive the inspiration from Forces Greater than Itself. Call it what you will. Painting for me has always been a sacred act, and a sexual act. Even all my paintings of the Masters have this “sexual impetus to create something,” which is very holy even beyond the choice of an obviously sacred subject such as Babaji, The Divine Mother, or Jesus.
Overcoming the “Fig-Leaf Factor” should not be so hard, one would think. We pussy-foot around it, but in the end I think we all recognize to some extent the importance of acknowledging the beauty of the forms through which we came. Even the orgasmic experience, some seers and sages would admit, is an experience likened to seconds of Divine bliss and revelation. Sacred Sexuality. From a painting perspective, when a loaded brush lays down the first stroke of color on a blank field, something akin to an orgasm of creativity takes place. How could it not if we are sensitive to the sacredness of the act itself? So long have we as human’s been engaged in the act of painting. Now discoveries in France show rock paintings in the cave in Chauvet go back over 30,000 years. Perhaps we painted before we spoke. And for sure we had sex before any of it.
The Big Bang is nothing less than a Cosmic Orgasm.
We paint after a reality that we seek, and this can be the celebration of our sexual identities. Removing the “Fig-Leaf Factor” is synonymous with seeing our innocence for who we are. We are spiritual beings having an intensely sexual experience—and what should be so “squeamish” or “shameful” about that? Clearly it is a “private act” of preference the form it takes. Some polyamorous folks insist “More is Better.” I think on the monogamy side of the fence, where I reside mostly, “One is All.” But this is not to exclude my appreciation for beauty in all women, all men, and in all forms of celebration of the Sacred Sexuality in which we are all elevated, not dashed back into some primordial soup of misguided church shame.
Our universe was created, it seems, by an Infinite Intelligence. Call it GOD. And then from one spark of Fatherly Love the whole Cosmos BANGS! into manifestation, into a Motherly Matrix of equally infinite proportions. Where does it all end? It doesn’t. So let’s take off the “Fig-Leaf” here and now. The Big Bang is nothing less than a Cosmic Orgasm. Wowie! So why shouldn’t we emulate the PURE JOY of that moment? And extend it into all subsequent moments?
Antidote for “Fig-Leaf Factor” —The opened eyes, “Art Look-Factor.”
“Art Look” came into being to meet a need we all have. We want to see with the eyes of truth, we want to LOOK with the eyes God gave us upon visions of happiness and beauty God willed for our existence here. “Art Look” is what we have the potential to do all of the time. It is not just a vision of painting, or dance, or architectural spaces, but a vision of our own holy innocence. What good is life if we do not have Pure Joy? And how can we have Pure Joy without the “Art-Look Factor” that supplants any previous blindness of the guilt or shame submerged in the unexamined life?
Life, Holiness and Art come together in just one authentic “Art Look.” It is just a simple seeing, a neutral blessing, a looking upon things without any preconceived notions of what you “knew before.” Drop all the bullshit and just LOOK. What do you see? Beauty is all around us, even in a pile of seemingly chaotic “trash.” One can replace the world we “made up”— with all of its contradictions, pains and shames—with the consistency of the Holy. In this “Art Look,” Sacred Sexuality springs forth as one of our greatest assets in Life.
THANKS FOR READING, Kids.
PS. It’s wonderful if you guys who enjoy “Art Look”
can sometimes support it by buying something.