Love heals as often as it burns. It’s nice to focus on the constant of love. “One. When we gaze into the eyes of the bellowed, we stare into the sacred mirror, and we recognize oneness.” This specific part of Alex Grey’s TEDx talk (check real time video: 15: 39 – 15: 46) inspired me to share his lecture on how art evolves consciousness.
Part II: The Local Planetary Consciousness Reference, Mark Gilbert, the Artist
“I got a job in the morgue to study an anatomy ….” says Alex Grey in his presentation. This reminded me to look back, a few years earlier when I invited in one of my Humanities classes Mark Gilbert, the Scottish painter and the artist who became known to the Nebraska local community and to the national artists in the USA by taking paintings of the cancer patients and even their cancers alone. Mark introduced himself to the class as the artist who also spent some time in the local morgue, observing and taking portraits of the deceased patients in order to capture the last departing drop of life from their still faces.
When I invited Mark Gilbert as a guest speaker, he was associated with the UNMC (University of Nebraska Medical Center) physicians program and he created the exhibition of the cancer portraits patients and, even, their surgeries or cancers exhibited at the Bemis Center for the Contemporary Art in Omaha, NE.
At first, I was shocked with Mark’s presentation. I am little of a hypochondriac and to see the depth of a cancer patient’s head or neck surgery or the portraits of the cancer patients after the surgery had been a challenge to me. Despite my natural predispositions of being “groused-out,” each portrait told an amazing story. During the class lots of students asked Mark endless questions. This event in the classroom made me question one more time what does it really mean to be compassionate and what does it mean to stay aligned with your own consciousness and beliefs. I was riding for many days on the razor blade doubt that Mark’s art, perhaps, had not expressed the right way of using one’s talents. Eventually I recognized that Mark’s art made me think about cancer and to be more compassionate in accepting and understanding cancer patients.
Mark as an artist followed the path of the suffering patients–either to face their possible healing and recovery or their demise–and he dignified those whose portraits stayed imprinted on his vast canvases.
I remember, After Mark’s lecture lots of students chose to work on presenting Alex Grey’s work–probably finding a spectral string of connections between the former morgue assistant and the contemporary morgue “light-and-shade-edging-worker.” This is an opportunity to share with you Mark Gilbert’s art too–as controversial as may be, it also opens the door to the deeper investigation on what is the meaning of life and the art of being human: