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artists statement header

john wessel getting plasteredMy work addresses the meeting of the spiritual and physical aspects of life’s experiences, translating the patterns and tone of spiritual and emotional energy in different situations into a visual language. Not wanting to repeat the heavily abstracted and stylized symbols used in traditional religious art, I provide a more direct, visceral depiction of energy patterns pertaining to particular states.

Nature of Spirit Series

Using plaster casts of people, life sized and accurately proportioned, to represent the physical state of being, they’re shown immersed in textures and colors of energy that permeate all of existence. The plaster casts are embedded and surrounded by sculpting made of shredded paper/latex molding material and whatever other materials lend the desired texture. Colors relate to the energy of the subject, permeating the aura around the individual, sometimes reflecting those hues traditionally associated with the chakras, though tracing the effect of those energy centers in other locations. I work with a broad base of models to provide a wider range of face and body shapes, sizes and types and leave them relatively free of any cultural trappings to reinforce the idea that these spiritual interactions apply to everyone. My work shows people’s reactions to tapping into this energy - how they react to connection with the here and now. Some pieces show the subjects’ control of this energy, as taught in many esoteric traditions.

Spirit of Nature Series

The Spirit of Nature paintings addresses the same balance of physical and spiritual, with nature as the subject matter. Just as humans experience the energy fields of the universe, so do plants. One of the better known glimpses into this world of energy is a study of Kirlian photographs that capture the "aura" of a severed section of leaf, still intact, even through it's physical form is gone.

Many people, especially if in a relaxed or meditative state, will see auras of plants and trees against the twilight sky. Sometimes these glimpses can even happen in daylight. Some of these paintings are a depiction of the natural world, bristling with energy. Others are just an appreciation for the textures and patterns of these wild scenes.

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