In a hymn to Kali, the 8th century Indian philosopher Shankaracharya wrote:
Who art thou, O Fairest One! Auspicious One!
You whose hands hold both: delight and pain?
Both: the shade of death and the elixer of immortality,
Are thy grace, O Mother!"
And Heinrich Zimmer, the celebrated German Indologist, wrote of the goddess:
"...Kali, the Black One. Kali: that is the feminine form of the word kala meaning 'Time' - Time the all-producing, all-annihilating principle, in the onflow of which everything that comes into existence vanishes again.
"With her four hands, Kali holds the symbols, not of abundance, but of death... In her, the creative principle and the destructive principle are one and the same... In place of a garland of flowers, she wears a wreath of severed heads. In one hand, she carries a sword, the symbol of physical extermination and spiritual decision, this sword cuts through error and ignorance.
"...To us of the West, brought up under the shadow of the Gothic cathedral, where the benign figure of the Blessed Mother, immaculate, is uncontaminated by the darker principle - India's mother, eternal India's horrific-beautiful, caressing-murdering symbolization of the totality of the world-creating, world-destroying one seems more difficult to love. Nevertheless, the Goddess, in the fullness of her terrible beauty, stands revealed to us."
In the summer of 2008, I held my first Visions in the Mischtechnik painting seminar in Torri Superiore Italy. During that time, one of my more talented students, Jimmy Bleyer, had a revelation. He saw a temple dedicated to Visionary works of art. Immediately upon his return to Los Angeles, he founded The Temple of Visions - a project including a website and series of exhibitions dedicated to Visionary art. The first exhibition was held in January 2008, in a section of the Hive Gallery beautifully transformed into a temple.
I was honoured to be one of the first artists invited, and made this small painting as one of two 'icons' to decorate the show. I was pleased to hear afterward that attendance at the opening night broke all records, and that people lined up around the block to get in...