Saturday, August 9, 2014

Matrices of Light & Shadow; Alex and Allyson Grey

Spiritual Energy System (left); Universal Mind Lattice (right) - acrylic on canvas - 1981, Alex Grey

"Looking at Grey’s paintings and other works on display, Hoffberger said, “Given the way technology is moving, do we want to become like machines? With each new high-tech invention, how do you download a ‘you’ into an ‘it’?” Grey’s powers-of-the-universe paintings, with their images of trees as fecund bodies, along with choruses of prehistoric animals, suns, eyeballs and planets, evoke an eternal, all-unifying, omnipresent spirit. Grey’s art seems more all-embracing than the ecumenical posturing of those praying, chanting, bead-rattling leaders of so-called organized religions who sometimes pause to look beyond their own belief systems and pay a little lip service to the dream of world peace."

"Love, consciousness, and creativity are the highest refinements of the cosmic evolutionary force."

"The Inevitable consequence of Love is the building of Temples."

- Two quotes by Alex Grey, found on his website.


"Secret Writing Magic Square with Mandala Border" - oil on wood - 1990, Allyson Grey

"Language is like a portal through which the inner world of order may pass into the outer world of chaos."

- Allyson Grey, from her website: Chaos, Order & Secret Writing.


In terms of the the Matrices (described here) and their relationship to the human body,  I don't think I've seem a better visual description than those presented by Visionary artist, Alex Grey in his amazing Chapel of Sacred Mirrors series. It's almost as if they were made to order for the musings of a Space Pagan, most especially his "Universal Mind Lattice," which he describes here:

 "No longer identified with or limited by our physical bodies, our essence is an individual fountain and drain of Light, interlocked with an infinite omni-directional network of similar energy cells, the interpenetrating consciousness of all beings and things."

The odd thing for me, at least, is - at the exact same time, and the exact same place (New York) - while Alex Grey was painting the huge canvases that would become the Chapel of Sacred Mirrors (see video), a far less flamboyant artist (me), was envisioning something along vaguely similar lines...

From a journal I began at the end of 1981:

"On Sunday, October 25, I was sitting on my bed listening to church bells, and watching a patch of sun on the wall, when suddenly I had the desire to go to a church... not any actual church.. but, some inward structure that would be both a sanctuary, and a point of transcendence... & immediately I decided what it was I wanted to begin drawing. Pieces fell into place... and the L symbols appeared to me like a type of writing on the wall... if I drew them as I felt them to exist on this "wall" I would, more or less, gain entrance to the the "temple." But, this is no ordinary "church," though, in ways it is like a church, in that its architecture has symbolic connotations and is an illustration of man's relation to the "divine" and the way, so to speak, man can find union with the cosmos... although, I believe, what I envision is an underlying code of shapes."

My temple, or "Temp L" - (note: I recently found a scribble in the afore-mentioned journal which said: "The Temple of the Ancient Future") (!) would become a series of small - theoretically interactive - drawings on index cards; hardly a whisper in the dark in comparison with Grey's more colossal undertaking. But that's life; specifically mine. ;-)

In any case, despite having been amazed by the x-ray visions of Alex Grey for years - and, if you've never heard of him, my guess is that you've fallen down your own private rabbit-hole - I wasn't fully aware of his Chapel till recently. But, that's also life; we tend to only find the things we need, exactly when we need them. 

Which brings us to the second half of this post. Because, one of the features of Grey's Chapel is a series of enigmatic, calligraphic embellishments, lending an almost extra-terrestrial ambience. One has to dig a little bit to discover that these bold, linear, and yet, wholly complementary "inscriptions" are the work of Allyson Grey - wife of Alex - an artist in her own right.

Entheon - Alex and Allyson Grey

As a feminist (by necessity) I felt immediately drawn to Allyson's role in this equation... the woman whose own quietly abstract "code of shapes" I can, perhaps, more deeply identify with - as an artist. But, then, Allyson Grey is also an artist of the Matrices, but her focus is primarily on the fundamental, underlying geometries, sampled and displayed within the context of her own "secret writing," which she (here) describes as automatic.

I confess, I love "personal" alphabets. I've devised a few of my own. It was from one devised by myself and my friend, Moo - as children - that the first, and most important symbol for my own geometric work emerged. Incidentally, Trans-D friend, Hawkwood, has a wonderful blog post about strange alphabets, I recently found, The Secret Tongues of Angels, which you might enjoy.

In odd ways, Allyson Grey's work brings to mind Patron Saint, Deborah Remington, who was also inspired by the use of black, white and red, and a calligraphic style... not to mention her devotion to "alien" mirrors. And, in the end, it's this "elsewhere" and/or "other" quality which, ultimately, defines some artists. The language - spare and economical - becomes somehow more essentially universal... inviting spiritual dialogues with the mysterious intelligences - of both inner and outer realities - we might, otherwise, be unaware of.

A beautiful marriage of the Greys' work is reflected by the image posted above: an Art-Deco-like banner with a wonderfully Ancient-Future twist. After all, what is that strange inscription? Somehow we can almost read it though it's not in any language we consciously know. The image itself is one that introduces another proposed "temple" created by the Grey's - the art sanctuary, Entheon, described here:

"This home for visionary painting and sculpture, performance and dance, will be a destination you can visit anytime of year to commune with and contemplate the art, now and for generations to come. That transformative environment will be called ENTHEON, a place to discover the creator within."

It's a project of which all Space Pagans should stand behind; and, know by this post, I do. And, to that end, here's Entheon's kickstarter page.

For a really marvelous ride through Grey's career and his collaboration with Allyson on a number of past performance pieces, try "Cosmic creativity -- how art evolves consciousness: Alex Grey at TED."


  1. There will always be those artists who transcend the technology, the mechanical and bring the inner spiritualism to life via the medium.

    This post is a very good example of that attainment.

    1. Thanks, Bob, but I don't know that I really did justice to the Greys' work. I guess I'm just hoping that readers will click on the links.