THE ALCHEMICAL TRANSFORMATION SERIES
The works in this series use concepts and imagery found in alchemy. Whether understood as a proto-science or as a philosophical, imaginal tradition, alchemy’s mysteries and metaphors compel people across time and culture. Issac Newton, whose handwritten text appears in some of my paintings, dabbled in alchemy before chemistry was a developed science. Carl Jung and James Hillman, among others felt a knowledge of alchemy was important for understanding the psychological and spiritual transformation of the psyche and used it as a tool for self-awakening in psychotherapy.
Alchemy’s processes are variously described, but generally include four stages of development that align with the evolving self: nigredo, albedo, citrinitas, and rubedo. The paintings use these ideas allegorically. Their images are symbolic often referring to a transmutation, where one entity is changing into another: a tree dissolves into light, a bird pixilates into its surrounding space, perception shifts between physical and metaphysical form, and boundaries expand as the finite and infinite merge. Birds, representing the psyche, are depicted as narrative characters to describe familiar human experiences such as descent, struggle, discovery, interconnection, revelation, and union.
In the language of alchemy, images are utriusque capax (capable of both) light and darkness, conscious and unconscious experience, material and spirit. These multiple approaches to perception frequently guide my artistic practice.