Where lies the source of artistic inspiration and genius? That is the soul-searching question posed by Gilbert who resurrects in her talk the notion that artistic genius is an external rather than an intrinsic characteristic of personal creativity. Like in the days of yore when the guiding spirit of a beautiful muse—an energy of inspiration in the form of a mythological goddess or a fetching woman—paid a fortunate artist a visit in ancient Greece or Chaucer‘s England, Gilbert describes genius as a power outside of ourselves. In short, the point is that genius is ego-less.
It is in this same vein that Brooklyn-based printmaker and painter August Rhonda Tymeson has tackled her recent creative experiments with water. Rather than rendered by her own brushstrokes, Tymeson’s appreciation of the array of vibrant patterns formed by water waves—responsive to the sounds and atmospheric conditions within her studio space—demonstrates in a spectacular way Gilbert’s invocation of a creative genius that resides and acts in collaboration with us. Indeed, Tymeson’s abstract water drawings evoke H2O’s centrality in the creation and sustenance of all life, and recall the emerging forms of our own conception as well the watery constitution of our biochemistry.
Tymeson, who is a Reiki master and long-term meditator, has been exploring what happens when the artist steps out of the way and allows the universe, comprised of elements like water, light, and metal, to make up its own “mind” and create.
Tymeson’s drawing series The Intelligence of Water is the result of allowing water to paint an image in a span of up to two weeks. She submerges reactive dye, sumi ink, and paper in a bath of four to five inches of water and simply allows water and time to do the rest without interference. This project is informed by both the water crystal experiments of Dr. Masuro Emoto and the neo-materialist philosophy of Manuel DeLanda, and like their studies considers the process of how consciousness manifests in the material. Tymeson’s appreciation of the unique physical properties of things as they are without intervention also references sculptor Richard Serra‘s exploration of the “logic of materials”. As Tymeson herself emphasizes, these resulting self-organized and stunning water-made images are a testament to water’s own intelligence rather than her own. Tymeson speaks of letting go of her intention and judgement in describing how a consciousness that is beyond body and intellect guides her creative process much like the energy in her Reiki healing work: “they paint themselves” and “I have learned that there is someone smarter than me—the universe is painting.”
The notion of creating art as a devotional ritual and offering, therein, invoking grace through a balance of disciplined effort and expansive surrendering (akin to a sufi dervish dance or a Tibetan sand mandala), colors Tymeson’s ongoing spiritually-infused artistic practices. Her artwork is represented by the Masters & Pelavin gallery.
All images copyright Auguste Rhonda Tymeson.