There is a plethora of symbolism and iconography loaded into Mary Koenen Clausen's artwork. For the curious minds and who want to know more, read below for a few snippets about her work and download a PDF filled with terms and definitions. You can also catch her artist talk under 'videos' and artworks in Peculiar Reality.
Due to the nature of Mary's process, it's difficult to capture the intricacies of her process in a typical Studio Visit. Enjoy a little reading below about her inspirations.
courtesy of the artist, photography by Gigi Boucher
Mary Koenen Clausen’s mixed media collages are rich in texture and image. Her works frequently are comprised of three visual fields or planes: the heavens, earth, and underworld. Figures composed of mismatched heads and bodies float among animals, icons, musical notes, and foreign texts on backgrounds thickly painted with deep hues. Mary sees the musical notes, symbols and foreign text, many of which she reproduces in her own hand, as messages emanating from her spiritual guides while channelling energy from other time and space dimensions.
Mary says of her process: “Collage is a matter of refining design. I sit with the pieces scattered around me and they come together. I always think in terms of layers. I don’t treat collage differently from painting.” She gathers her material from Italian magazines, 17th and 18th century Bibles, antique books, among other sources. Mary also uses photographs of her surroundings in her work. Her home and studio are full of paintings, photographs, wall hangings, dolls, and other collected objects, an environment that reflects the complexity of her work.
"At about five years of age I became a voluntary mute. This was in large part because when I started school, I like all the others, was expected to gain all kinds of skills that had to do with socialization, and memorization. I felt increasingly conflicted with what was coming at me from the outside world in sharp contrast to all the feelings and perceptions I was gaining from listening to my own inside world - thus the lensing system was born. I simply shut out what I felt took away from my ability to gain internal knowledge."
Divination (from Latin divinare "to foresee, to be inspired by a god”, related to divinus, divine) is the attempt to gain insight into a question or situation by way of an occultic, standardized process or ritual. Used in various forms throughout history, diviners ascertain their interpretations of how a querent (one asking a question) should proceed by reading signs, events, or omens, or through alleged contact with a supernatural agency. Divination can be seen as a systematic method with which to organize what appear to be disjointed, random facets of existence such that they provide insight into a problem at hand. If a distinction is to be made between divination and fortune-telling, divination has a more formal or ritualistic element and often contains a more social character, usually in a religious context, as seen in traditional African medicine. Fortune-telling, on the other hand, is a more everyday practice for personal purposes. Particular divination methods vary by culture and religion.
Channeling is a means of communicating with any consciousness that is not in human form by allowing that consciousness to express itself through the channel (or channeler). Automatic writing or psychography is a claimed psychic ability allowing a person to produce written words without consciously writing. The words arise from a subconscious, spiritual or supernatural source. Automatic writing is not the same thing as free writing.
The Knowing Game Mixed media on paper Art dimensions: 40" x 26" Peculiar Reality