I am in the planing/funding phase of an art pilgrimage to the sacred Mount Kailash in Tibet.
I am offering work on-line at affordable prices to help make this dream come true.
This series of unique hand prints, charged with protection mantras, are available here: http://kailashpilgramage.tumblr.com/
Somehow a side project that started years ago as a personal expression to use my own body as my prime canvas, and later grew to painting on others as a reaction to impermanence (as well as gypsying around the world needing to paint larger than the little pieces of paper I could fit in my backpack), has grown into an evolving art modality on its own right. In my continuing practice of collaboration, I often work with photographers. Here is an archive of this Body as Canvas journey: www.bodyglyph.tumblr.com
For what purpose does art exist? For the creator, or for the viewer? Does it's essence lay in the act of manifestation, or in the power of the final result? How new is the concept of art as commerce? Can art be an honest transmutation of joy or grief, and still be a product? Certainly if conceptual ideas can be commodified then so can ritual objects. But perhaps this thought is wandering off its path...
Human grief is real, and art (or rather: the creative act) is an action to use this powerful energy and transform (transmute) it into something tangeable and temporal. Surely we can look to the German Expressionists or Picasso's Guernica as historic comments on pain witnessed in the external world. And yet, when the pain is more personal, we can look to the art of children who witnessed massacres, and use art as therapy to process their pain. As the Buddha said: Life is suffering. We can either sit and meditate till we are untouched by the ups an downs of life, or we can use the energy of suffering in more of a tantric way, and channel it into a focused point through the act of creativity.
Recently I went thru a major grief moment in my life, and did my best to transform the waterfall that was crashing upon my heart into the stillness of snowflakes spinning on my finger. Does the viewer need to know the story behind creation? No, I think not. We each bring our own understanding to what we experience, based on who we are and how we feel and think. Creation is just happening around us all the time, to us, by us, and through us.
This instillation I made at the Sacred Door Gallery in Venice Beach (LA), CA is partially inspired by the mysterious buried ceramic artifacts found in Mexico and Central America (which I had been influenced by during my time in those regions at the end of 2012), and partially by something personal.
The show runs May 4 - July 1st, 2013. Contact email@example.com or 310.396.4242 to schedule a visit and for price list.
I remember as a child seeing all the hip-hoppers, boom boxes, b-boys and tagged subway cars in NYC, and all the COST/REVS murals all over. Graffiti had a special flavor then...and now, well it's amazing that it's an accepted fine art (almost). Photography also used to be on the fringes. In the fringes, or the fuzzy edges there seems to be more freedom...there are no Picasso shadows to struggle to grow beyond, and into the source of nourishing light. Painting is always there for new voices, but the market through which it reaches an audience is a complex machine. That was the appeal of street art and graffiti to begin with. But now its graduated from its outsider status, and growing in interesting ways, like how in Germany there is a program to get the elderly out of their house by teaching them how to spray paint. Its a cute concept, and allows people to communicate to their community in new ways as well as adding color to the urban palate.
So what art forms remain outside the realm of commerce? Outside the influence of predecessors and a marketplace and dealers and critics? Even community based work is absorbed into the mainstream institutions these days (which is great). And all this intellectual conceptual art, sure I sometimes cultivate projects grown in that soil, but its fruit rarely yield art that you can sink your teeth into.
I guess this is a left brain way of talking about the right brain activity of adorning the body with paint, which is where I have been bringing my mark making lately. The body as the canvas. The material ephemeral. No storage necessary. No studio. No archival concerns. No openings. No reviews. Just creation unfolding through one body onto another. Sure, there are body art painting competitions, where artists paint their painting onto the body, but then its not about the body, but about their imagery. And some of the work is so cheezy that I think it lets people pass judgement in a negative way. Which is perfect, because the fewer people who take it seriously, the more freedom and room there is for people to explore and play.
So now I am in Tulum, playing with the muse, and collaborating with photographer Polina Sirosh. What washes or sweats off in a matter of hours is now being recorded thru the eyes and lens of a very talented photographer. The images we are getting are amazing, but I will not post them on-line for the most part. To follow the story more closely, check my other blog devoted to this form of expression:
The last time I mounted an art show in Paris was 4 years
ago, right before I left for India, so it’s nice to return from India and show
in Paris the work I made since I was last here. Brachfeld gallery has also
allowed me the use of the space for the month of August to use as a residency,
hosting different teachings/lectures/workshops/presentations/events.
I knew I had a lot of pieces to choose to show, all small
paintings/drawings/collages on paper (cause that’s the easiest to work on
when living out of a backpack and traveling). I wanted to do something
site-specific that could make all the individual works operate individually or
as a group. I decided to put murals on 3 of the walls that the pieces could
relate to thematically/conceptually. Also I wanted there to be a blend of the
East and the West, not just a display of work made abroad.
For this mural I revisited a mural I did a year ago, when I showed some work in Sweden after my first year and a half in India. I called him my Quantum man, jumping from one location to another, shedding identifying features. It seemed appropriate now to use him again as the Large Hadron Collider in nearby Zurich just confirmed the “God-particle” existence. I wanted all my art to be flying out of his briefcase, like a commuter late for the train. But on a deeper level I am thinking about strings of memories unfolding into the past, each linked and expanding meaning by association, all traceable back to the briefcase, open in the present moment (caught between the door of the past and the door of the future). The quantum man now has an outfit (with matching hat and briefcase) of sacred geometry (flower of life pattern, also seen in many of the works on paper), which speaks to this French Haute-couture culture of luxury branding. The pieces transition from chaotic strings into salon style hanging, which also references the history of Paris.
For this mural I am integrating East and West concepts of beheading. I am using many images of Kali, a fierce and often misunderstood goddess from the Hindu pantheon as well as that of the guillotine (the show opened close to Bastille Day -July 14th, the celebration of the French 1789 Revolution), and the iPhone (as the guillotine blade) that makes people “loose their head.” The angel is there to catch the head, and serves as an image to relate works on paper to. Like a diagram, the strings in this and the next installation come out of specific places and connect to relational visuals. Over all, I liked the image to look like a computer desktop as well as a diagram. Each work on paper was like a folder that could be conceptually double clicked on, accessing more information about the subject. Many relations of images need time in the mind to create meaning for why they were placed together.
The final mural references the fake book cover series I did in India, 6 of which are also on display in the gallery. GalapaGhost in the Machine allows me to talk about technology vs. Evolution/nature, and bring in imagery I made in India, which connect directly or indirectly, to these themes. The main graphic I use on the book cover is a medieval alchemy woodcut of man looking beyond nature to get a glimpse into the mechanisms of heaven. This also allows me to integrate East and West mystical imagery from the past and the present. Again, the works on paper serve individually as file folders, or create as a whole a feeling of a chart or diagram.
Wall of fake book covers
Limited edition prints available from BRACHFELD Gallery
Oliver Halsman Rosenberg July 11th - September 15th 2012 Opening : Wednesday, July 11th 2012, 7 - 10PM
Om. This summer Brachfeld Gallery is pleased to present a site-specific installation and new work by nomadic artist Oliver Halsman Rosenberg, who has been traveling through India for the majority of the last 3 years. Also, during the month of August Rosenberg (as his alter ego: "In Praise of the Void"), will be curating the gallery as a pop-up healing space; Hosting lectures, workshops, hapenings, music events, sound-bowl meditations, screenings, and other surprises, facilitated by his community of fellow nomadic scholars and practitioners met during his Indian travels. Please check IN PRAISE OF THE VOID for an evolving calendar of events.
Rosenberg has been making works on paper (no larger than the bag he has been living out of) that reflect his inner and outer journey through the illuminating and overwhelming landscapes of India. Themes, techniques, and materials often vary from one body of work to the next. From Sacred Geometry re-mixed to fake spiritual book covers...one location would inspire collages, another painting, and another photography. Trying to use local materials and inspired by folk techniques and motifs, the works shown may include any of the following: hand made dung washed paper, eucalyptus paper, rice paper, incense burns, henna, gouache paint, god eyes, and odds and ends from Indian spiritual ephemera shops. From minimal tantric images, to explosive rainbow energy chaos, to deities emerging from patterns...all that is found in the ever-changing ancient culture and land of India is also reflected in the body and mind. Om
Rosenberg comes from a long lineage of artists and artisans including Ludwig Moser the Bohemian glassmaker, and Philippe Halsman the celebrity photographer. He studied Art and Art History at Skidmore College (NY) , and SACI ( Florence, Italy). His work has been exhibited in a variety of international galleries and institutions, including: The Drawing Center (NYC), The DESTE Foundation (Greece), Junsthalle Wien (Austria), Berkeley Art Museum (CA), and the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts(CA). His work and writing has appeared in The New York Times, Parkett, The Japan Times, D.A.P.,Dwell, Planet, and various art web sites.
Welcome back to NYC Oliver. You have had an amazing 6 month journey to India, learning about tantra, yantras, and mantras as you desired. Now it's time to organize what you created, and get ready for your show in Paris that opens July 11th at Brachfeld Gallery. Not sure to post pix on-line or not. Most of the work is meant to be seen in person.
Back in my favorite living museum...India...eucalyptus paper, gouache, bird calls dancing in ears, temple views...back to the sacred geometry and spiritual iconography...unfolding flowers and stars with symbol of divine devotion with-in...
This new blog focuses just on my spherism/vibrational body of work. It's nice to see a concise thread in my work emerge over 6 years. I know the longer I'm working, the more it will all make sense to everyone else.
I'm a philosophy buff as well as being an artist. A favorite past time of mine is to take conceptual views of reality for test drives. After India certainly things made more/less sense when returning to America. Nonetheless, Public art/intervention remains a fluid form. Reality is the canvas, your body becomes the brush, and your intention becomes the paint (so to speak). When I say tantra, I point pack to its original and non-sexual definition, which is a "weaving" of the fabrics of reality, where all becomes holy and divine, and the launching pad for transcendence. As an artist, life becomes the ultimate creative act/action/experiment. As a lineage holder of the surrealist and atomic mysticism art movements I like to inject irrationality into the public sphere as an action, not only as a static image charged with symbolic potential knowledge. To weave play into the reflection becomes the intention.
My latest public action was a collaboration, mostly with my partner Djamilla, and some dear artist friends. I created for her a catalog of planets that she could fill in descriptions about. It was like a tourism brochure: "Don't like your planet? Visit one of ours!" Once it was filled out, she sold tours to people, and I used my body script to paint the boarding passes directly on the bodies of our customers (usually their right fore-arm). This was all done with a very straight face, as I asked them how long of a journey they would like to take (whether they wanted to travel one-way or round trip), and then I would send them down the line to my associates Frank Callozzo who was signing them up for Liability Insurance, and Shrine was making sure they had Collision Coverage. Anahata even showed up for some time to serve as the Galactic Linguistic Liaison. We called ourselves the Perpetual Epiphany Galactic Travel Agency, and probably sent 100 people on journeys.
The art in this piece for me is more in the intention of connecting people with imagination and play, where-as the results is the body adorned with different temporary paint indicating travel itinerary and types of insurance coverage. Our nomadic galactic office was temporarily set up at the Black Rock City art festival in Nevada.
The art techniques and vocabulary I develop often reach a certain stage of growth, and then put on hold till another time, while I explore a new modality. Like a room full of musical instruments, they remain in waiting till I choose to take them out again and play. Sphereism was a conceptual vocabulary I developed a few years back. Similar to how cubism was a way to re-see space, Sphereism is a way to see through space (conceptually), it intends to show how everything isn't actually solid, but rather made up of over lapping vibrations. At first I was doing highly esoteric symbols as vessels to contain knowledge about the nature of the universe, but after some time I figured perhaps this was over the head of the audience, so I decided to go supermarket low-brow. Cereal boxes, and trashy magazines became my new vessels to reveal the vibrational nature of "reality". When I saw this recent cover of STAR Magazine with "Plastic Surgery Confessions," I couldn't pass up the opportunity to alchemize this American trash, and elevate it to something perhaps higher...
Show is up till the 27th of Aug.
Hope you get a chance to see it in person, as these pix are pretty low res..
(me and David Aron, good friend and other artist in the show)
(me and mom, my first art teacher)
(25 foot calligraphy scroll from the J.B. Blunk residency. Ink on paper)
(1 framed piece from a series of 7. Ink on paper)
(2 nine foot batik pieces. Dye on silk)
(Series of 10 energetic Kabbalah totems. Gouache on Eucaliptus paper)