We are two artists, Tal Waldman in Paris France and Fiona Morehouse in Vermont USA. Meeting in Paris in a common exhibition “A Kind Of Magic”, our common paintings both titled, As Above, So Below, sets a unique foundation to this phenomenological Art research. Visualizing the Invisible, a journey into silence lies at the crossroads between art and inner study. Opening ourselves to subtle currents, recognizing synchronicity, we commit to experimenting with art and awareness in a fluid exchange. Coinciding with the pause created by COVID-19, our geographically distanced collaboration invites us to rethink silence and reevaluate the relationship between art, spirit and body. These days we are publishing a book after 2 years of research.
Unedited archive : in2visible.com
Instagram page : in2.visible
The multilayered research consists of a few hundreds of drawings, paintings, writings, videos and photographs edited in 3 parts:
20 alternating chapters.
A link to an article about Chapter 17 by Tal Waldman in the Culturium, November 2021, Tal Waldman: Silence
A link to an article about Chapter 9 by Tal Waldman in the Culturium, July 2020.Tal Waldman: Komorebi
2 triptychs of (100x130cm each)
A common painting (260x260cm) and installation from a common art residency in Italy
Times of upheaval prompt the search for new ways of understanding the forces shaping human life, awaking interest in understanding the unknown, the invisible. As the world pauses due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many of us stop and reflect.
For me this interest in comprehending invisible currents goes back 25 years, when I first searched to deepen my consciousness. A search that led to a routine of daily practices. In the past few years I have found the need to incorporate this inner search into my art work. This project is an organic continuation to this ongoing search.
My goal is to “visualize the invisible”, to observe and record both visible and invisible currents in my life and my art. I wish to deepen my understanding of the relationship between self-observation, perception change, awareness and art making, through a grounded experimentation anchored in a multidisciplinary project. The heart of the matter seems to lie in the experimentation and its documentation. I wonder about several points: To what extent is an artistic practice a conscious practice? What could be the impact of enhanced awareness on artistic process? What is silence in life and in art? What is the relationship between art-body-nature-spirit? Art sits on a crossroads between spirit and material. The spirit seeks embodiment and collides with the material aspect of art itself, how do I settle this duality?
Both my partner to the project, Fiona Morehouse, and myself, engage to an open organic collaborative structure, based on trust and sharing. We commit to daily meditation practices and a weekly zoom meeting. We both agree to document our experiences, artworks and intimate insights, examining the impact of self-observation, inner work practices and the artistic process with each other.
In March 2020 I write, “Writing helps me understand the impression that resonates naturally in a drawing, as if my letters, my words, remember for me and sharpen the mental direction of the experiment. With each drawing a new energy is added, solidifying my contact with myself.”
The progress of the project evolves hand by hand with my capacity to observe and document. While observing my own creative process as a conscious practice, I attempt to visually represent the experiences and perceptions observed. Thereby, not only I give a voice to the vibratory realm in my creation, but also am able to enhance my observational capacities in life and cultivate an “attitude” that can assist both my process and this phenomenological research.
In winter 2020, in lieu of our cancelled art residency due to Covid-19, we commit to 8 weeks of visual experimentation of self-awareness. Believing that “Know thyself” is an essential key to inner study and art making, we challenge ourselves to be aware and document. I observe, discern and visually monitor different aspects of my daily life, art making, meditation, senses and behavior patterns in charts.
The practical aspect of the project includes daily forms of conscious meditation as sustenance for my self-investigation. My daily practice consists of sitting meditation, Nada Yoga and Qi gong. All exercises rely on the connection of body and mind and tend to strengthen overall balance as well as calm and focus.
Meditation is not attached to any thought, emotion or sensation, the aim being to remain in a state of pure observation without judgment nor pre-definition. Applying this concept to my creative project means that the procedure becomes the form. Any desire to predefine an art form, other than the starting point, will distort the representation of inner experience. It is both the challenge and the difficulty of visualizing the invisible.
I strive to develop a conscious attitude towards my work, focusing on aspects such as silence and a non-judgmental attitude. The project alternates painting with drawing, photography, installation, videos and writing. Focusing first on themes that easily lend themselves to a silent state of mind, leading to a visual representation of the experiences and perceptions observed, a voice is given to the vibratory world.
Nature being a central inspiration and influence in my work in general, is a common thread throughout the project. The project starts and ends in the French Alps, investigating nature as a metaphor of my own body, experimenting with landscape, trees, light and breath as anchors, zooming in and out of the cellular layer in order to visualize a common ground between myself and the world around me.
Automatic Drawing is “a method of artistic creation developed by the surrealists in which the artist removes conscious control over the manufacturing process as a means of expressing the unconscious”. While various mindfulness practices (mantra, breath etc.) focus sensation on the body and thus prevent the mind from dispersing into thoughts, emotions and associations, a similar process seems to occur in Automatic Drawing, which allows for self-observation. In April 2020 I begin to document short exercises in a journal. While drawing or doodling I experiment with changes in perception. I find this technique helpful in linking concept and practice. I explore the common qualities of mindful practice and artistic creation, question the possibility of transforming art into a mindful practice and experience the difficulties of documenting such a process.
Another interesting layer of our project is communication. We commit to an honest and transparent dialogue including text, video conferences, letters and exchange of documents. Later, we open our conversation to the public in an unedited archive blog and an Instagram page @in2.visual. In May 2020 we write “The goal of this intercultural dialogue, is to propose art as an integrative tool to embody a mindful life. We believe that our deep interest in awareness supports a much needed movement within the current rapidly changing global landscape. This website as well as our social media pages, brings our ongoing experimentation to the public – a way of working with art that we believe, has value in shaping both art making and human connection“. This open and transparent attitude has a positive influence on both our relationship and artwork.
In addition to the practice, my creative process is intuitive and organic and is consolidated by theoretical study, including books, articles and poetry, some of which I mention in this book. I am also thankful to a chain of great artists which explore the bridge between art and the spiritual in their works, some of whom I refer to in this book.