(Today’s presentation is by guest artist Sharmon Davidson. See bio below.)
My earliest memories are of a preoccupation with careful examination of the world around me, and with making marks on paper to represent what I saw. From this developed a desire to communicate through line and color what cannot be expressed in words. My work originates from a deep belief in the sanctity of the earth, and in the underlying unity of everything in our universe. Formed from common elements born from a common source, everything is interconnected in the most intricate ways, both visible and invisible. Each piece develops organically and intuitively, as layers of transparent color and other materials are built up. Over time, I have developed a vocabulary of nature-inspired symbols through which I attempt to reveal this mystery as honestly and authentically as I can.
In Tara’s Garden, mixed media on antique book cover, 5 x 16 inches
In Tibetan Buddhism, Tara is the goddess of compassion, and is thought to have originated from pre-Buddhist animism. Her most popular form, Green Tara, is a forest goddess whose Pure Land is said to be lush and verdant. I imagine her garden as a place of great peace and beauty.
Temple, mixed media on antique book cover, 18 x 11 inches
To me, the earth is sacred and holy, and wild places are my sanctuary. Trees are the mighty pillars that hold up the sky. A choir of birds is the perfect accompaniment. This piece is an attempt to convey that feeling of awe.
As Above, So Below, mixed media and collage on multi-media board, 18 x 10 inches
This piece was inspired by clouds that looked like giant, rolling waves, reminding me of the patterns shared by different forms in nature, like the spiral of a galaxy and a whirlpool in water. The phrase itself comes from ancient occult traditions and refers to the concept of microcosm and macrocosm: that smaller systems – particularly the human body – correlate to the universe as a whole.
Doors of Perception, mixed media on vintage book cover, 11 x 17.5 inches
Based on the William Blake quote, later borrowed by Aldous Huxley, “If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.” What we see ultimately depends on the lens we see through, i.e. our own individual point of view and level of understanding.
Analogy IV, monotype with mixed media on Rives BFK paper, 15 x 11.25 inches
In the Analogies series, I juxtapose various patterns in nature in order to draw attention to the similarities between them. These patterns are called fractals, and they are in the structures of mountains and rivers, the branching of trees and blood vessels, and even in DNA.
The Traveler’s Tale: As the Crow Flies, mixed media on multi-media board, 21 x 18 in
This painting/collage is about beginning a journey. Rather than telling a complete story, it leaves the viewer free to bring their own interpretation. The woman seems unprepared, yet determined. There are clouds, but the light is breaking through; life is full of possibilities.
Germination III: Flight of the Seed, mixed media on multi-media board, 11 x 9 inches
The seed is a symbol I have used in my work for many years, and one of the most important. To me, it’s about transformation and renewal. As a child, I was amazed that a living, beautiful plant could come from something that appeared to be dead, hardly more than a speck of dirt. What a strange and magical thing!
Day Into Night, monotype with mixed media on Rives BFK paper, 15 x 13 inches
Here, I draw on my memories of that magical in-between time when the stars begin to appear, but it’s not quite dark yet. Part of the sky is a dusty pink, and then the next time you look up, it’s a deep blue, and the moon is rising. All of the colors slowly blend together, the constellations connecting with the veins of the leaves. All of nature is one, and at peace in this moment.
The Separation of Heron and Crow II, monotype with mixed media, 10 x 9 inches
The heron and crow symbolize opposites which together form a balanced whole. Like day and night, dark and light, or yin and yang, neither can exist without the other. This idea is expressed through overlapping and positive/negative mixing of the birds, who also interlock into one shape.
Out of the Darkness, mixed media on antique book cover, 5 x 15 inches
It’s said that every person must go through a ‘dark night of the soul.’ It is possible to come out of deepest darkness into the light. I know this from my own experience.
Born and raised near Cincinnati, Ohio, Sharmon Davidson is a Kentucky mixed media artist who uses mystical, dreamlike, nature-inspired imagery to explore her beliefs in the sanctity of the earth and the interconnections between everything in the universe. Her process begins with a multi-layered monotype; layers of other media are then added. Having studied the visual arts extensively at Northern Kentucky University and the Art Academy of Cincinnati, she has exhibited professionally since 1993. Her work has appeared on several book covers, and has been featured in publications such as Woven Tale Press Literary and Fine Arts Journal and Storytelling With Collage: Techniques for Layering, Color, and Texture by Roxanne Evans Stout. Other jobs and activities have included: graphic designer, stay-at-home mom, performing in a Middle Eastern dance troupe, and teaching art and special education in the Kentucky public schools. She is represented by the Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen Gallery in Berea, Kentucky, and the Ascension Fine Arts Gallery in Nashville, Indiana.
The Spiritual Naturalist Society works to spread awareness of spiritual naturalism as a way of life, develop its thought and practice, and help bring together like-minded practitioners in fellowship.