Below is an old art history paper; it discusses the material and militaristic view of space travel versus the spiritual, consciousness expanding space travel through the vortex symbol and the quatrefoil symbol.
Artist: Paul Feeley
Subgenre: Sculpture and paintings
Media: wood and paint
Artist: Janet Echelman
Media: Poles: 105 feet, 125 feet and 145 feet tall Rings: Outer: 100 feet wide; Inner: 30 feet wide Cable: 1 ¾ -inch cable; 1-inch cable Net Dimensions: 100 feet wide at the top – 15 feet wide at the bottom The lowest part of the net hangs 38 feet above the ground. The highest rises to about 100 feet. Wind Load: designed to withstand summer monsoon winds.
For my design comparisons I chose sculpture by 1960s’ artist Paul Feeley and contemporary sculpture artist Janet Echelman. I had chosen Echelman’s piece first because the exquisite use of light and color, shape and form really struck a chord with me. I am personally attracted to color and shape as they are often used in symbols and signs… for me, color and form in sculpture is like a really large 3dimensional symbol. The sculptures take on a symbol of their own. For some reason, the 1960s really came to mind when I saw Echelman’s sculpture. I then googled for an artist that resembled Echelman’s pieces and fell upon Paul Feeley. Unfortunately there is not a lot on Paul Feeley. The same symbolic appeal that Echelman uses in her works are mimicked in Feeley’s childlike wooden sculptures. Echelman’s is almost like a sophisticated contemporary version of Feeley’s sculptures.
Feeley appears to be more of a painter than a sculpturer. He’s taken simple shapes and elaborated them using repetition and distortion to the original form. However, the way Feeley uses shape and color in his sculptures and especially his paintings create a subliminal affect of being symbols. His paintings are not symbolic, they are, rather more like patterns… but even then they are not exactly like a tile pattern. Sometimes a form is repeated through out his paintings, sometimes it is just in a certain location in his paintings. He works a lot with the Gestalt Theory and its’ Law of Figure-ground. Echelman also works with the Law of Figure-ground whether it was intentional or not.
In figure 1, remind me of a particular symbol and sign that is often used in religious architecture is the quatrefoil. This quatrefoil has a lot of significant esoteric influence on religious architecture. Perhaps Feeley was influenced by such a shape that he felt compelled to sculpt. And while we may never know that Feeley was inspired by the quatrefoil we do know quite a bit about the religious and esoteric influence the quatrefoil has. A blog I follow called, “Reconciliation of Science and Religion” uses art, symbols and signs as a foothold to deliver and reveal many esoteric secretes that were once taught in the ancient mystery schools but have been eliminated from “modern” consciousness. In ancient history the mystics where known as the priest-scientists who devised and developed systems and languages of symbols and signs to preserve knowledge. Mystics preserved ancient knowledge through paintings and cosmologies that often times conveyed scientific meaning through a complex system of mythological themes, symbols, storylines, and words. This method has long been lost to humanity because of the so-called Enlightenment era,
[The] Enlightenment was a desire for human affairs to be guided by rationality rather than by faith, superstition, or revelation; a belief in the power of human reason to change society and liberate the individual from the restraints of custom or arbitrary authority; all backed up by a world view increasingly validated by science rather than by religion or tradition. (Dorinda Outram, historian)
On the blog, “Reconciliation of Science and Religion” the author, known as “Raphael” writes about the constant associations each symbol has to each other and is determined to prove Einstein’s “Theory of Everything”. Dr. Timothy Leary, a professor at Harvard University during the 1960s who was fired due to his experiments with LSD and his belief that this drug was a positive stimulant that could be used for expanding awareness of subconscious structures and aspects of the world not perceived in a normal consciousness state, has propagated the quatrefoil sign as a symbol for the League for Spiritual Discovery, or LSD. Raphael writes,
ASYMMETRY is KEY, and it is easy to prove the ancients were aware of asymmetry. Yes they were AWARE, and we are rather ignorant of this fact, that they were more aware of asymmetry than we appear to be. It seems we have been focused on SYMMETRY far too much, far too long…probably because symmetry implies perfection, and perfection is ‘god’.
It is illustrated that a quatrefoil is produced when inverting a swastika, a sign that is known for being symmetrical in nature. According to the mystic Hindus the swastika was
originally developed to explain the nature of duality; clockwise represents the physical and counterclockwise represents the spiritual. Now it seems that the inversion of a swastika represents subconscious, inter-dimensional expansion, etc and in the version represents the grounding and a conscious state… of being present. From the student-produced magazine, Knowledge of Reality they write,
The electron’s high probability zone formed spiral standing waves around the carbon atom’s nucleus. When this configuration was viewed from certain angles the physicist was surprised to find that the spirals formed recognizable symbols. In the first view a 3–dimensional Aumkara could be seen. From a different angle that Aumkara became a flat, 2-dimensional Swastika. The Swastika, he concluded, was actually 2-D representation of the 3-D aumkara.
What both sculptures have in common is their symbolic associations. According to Raphael’s writing and findings, the quatrefoil represents finding the reality and natural existence of different dimensions in plain view (LSD, consciousness expansion, etc) and then in Echelman’s piece, which visually depicts a vortex, or a kind of inverted wormhole; a technological concept that is used in science-fiction as a means of intergalactic and dimensional travel. One, the quatrefoil, is a rather spiritual version of intergalactic and dimensional travel and the other, the vortex, is a superficial kind of concept for intergalactic and dimensional travel.