MFA Project - Rivers (2010-2012)

My spiritual path has been defined by a desire to know the Goddess in her many forms.  In 2009 I entered a Master’s program in Women’s Spirituality at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, CA which taught how to use the rituals of making art to explore integration of self and prayerful communion with the earth.  I left this department to pursue a MFA degree in Creative Inquiry and Interdisciplinary Arts but I brought with me the river as a metaphor for a nurturing flow of female culture.

During the course of my MFA program I became interested in developing a relationship to the natural watercourses of planet Earth and articulating a vision of the interconnectedness on Earth.  My thesis project, Rivers, was a series of altar-like installations that juxtapose image, text and found objects exploring the spiritual nature of water.  Using acrylic paint I investigated the contour lines of rivers embedded within a landscape of my own abstract painting style where each line and dot added a different visual harmonic to the tonal frequency of the piece.  Then I added text and found objects to engage each river in a multi-dimensional manner

For the installation of my body of work I included a main altar and a sound drone.  The main altar consisted of a basket, gemstones, cloth and stones that I collected from rivers around California.  I provided paper and pencil and encouraged visitors to participate by writing their own prayers for rivers that were burned when the show was over.  The sound drone was played in the space to support an atmosphere of deep listening.  Sound recordings I made of rivers were mixed in with musical elements such as tuning forks, chanting and other atmospheric effects.

I began with a painting of the Mississippi River as I had previously been living in New Orleans at the mouth of this mighty river and was inspired by how deeply entwined the soul of a river and the culture of a city can become.  I decided to use pink as the color for each main river or group of rivers of each piece to reference my connection to the mysterious Goddess energy which supports and fuels my creative process.

Pre-show process pieces:

Opening Night - June 2012

Rivers by Jenelle Campion