new work: EMBRACED BY THE VEIL (YOSEMITE)
LA art show opens friday night - you're invited!
A Winter Visit to Yosemite
There’s a practice in shamanic journeying in which you imagine yourself (journey) in a place you’re going before you get there — to introduce yourself to the land, people, and spirits there, and ask permission to come.
You do this through meditation or shamanic trance. In the latter, you often begin by listening to a drum beat or rattle, losing yourself in rhythm to quiet your mind. If you’ve ever lost yourself in a set at a club, it’s kind of like that feeling, but just the internal, mental part (and minus the drugs). This, of course, is a medial state: neither awake nor asleep, mind floating in some other place, self neither here nor physically there but somewhere in between.
In January, I took my paternal first cousins, all of whom live in the Philippines, to Yosemite. For many of us (myself included!) it was the first time going; for some of them, it was the first time seeing snow. They were all in the Bay Area for Christmas and to celebrate my Dad’s 60th birthday: the first time the clan had been together since before the pandemic.
We had one free day to go — a four+ hour drive there and a four+ hour drive back for at best, a four-hour visit, but we decided it was worth it. As it worked out, California was in the midst of massive storms up and down the coast and we questioned if it was safe since the roads had a chance of ice and since the valley had a chance of snow. Of course, this was also perfect — the day we had free was the clear day after a fresh snowfall, perfect for a caravan of young adults looking for winter adventure.
As the oldest cousin, I felt responsibility for the group for logistics, safety, and overall enjoyment. Seeing as my explorations in the medial space have been on the rise, both in number, depth, and overall comfort, I decided to journey the night before to ask permission, to get guidance, and to ensure on some level, our safety.
The Journey Before the Journey
I imagined entering a forest — it was dusk, the air brisk, quiet. I walked in through the trees waiting for a guide to appear. “Bring them…” a voice whispered through the boughs and branches as I continued to walk forward, feet stepping on the soft forest floor. I said my name, announced myself, said I was seeking the guardian of this place.
“Bring them…” the voice was like a fog, a mist even, hovering over and within the trees as I ascended; originating not from one place but seemingly everywhere, the kind of fog that seeps into your bones. I asked out loud to come, I asked permission to be there. Step by step moving forward, until I reached a cave amidst the forest. The cave was not so much cave as cavern, and not so much natural cavern as a proverbial cavern of the heart. And the figure I encountered was a woman, less figure than presence. Similar to the fog, she seemed to be all around me. She seemed to be the place itself. She was the guardian, and one with more of the qualities I associate with the Virgin Mary than a Native Elder, the latter of which I expected to find.
Though, you really never know what you’re going to find in one of these encounters. Or anywhere, for that matter.
I didn’t see her face as much as feel her presence, feel the majesty of her spirit filling ever rock and crevice of the forest. I felt her embrace, the soft love of a mother, welcoming me into her fold.“Bring them,” she said again, “I will embrace you, and you will be held.”
The next day when we arrived in Yosemite, we encountered a fog sitting over the forest, fresh snow on the ground, and the majesty of Bridal Veil Falls, named after the soft shape the waterfall’s mist makes as it falls down — as if it was a veil on a virgin. Snowball fights were had and core memories were made as we walked through the valley feeling the cliffs on either side of us like the walls of an ancient heart. Embraced by the place, and held.
new work: EMBRACED BY THE VEIL (YOSEMITE)
Delighted to present a new piece, “EMBRACED BY THE VEIL (YOSEMITE)” (24” x 30” acrylic on canvas framed in pale maple, 2023) this week as a part of Dorado 806’s Show, “California Dreamin” starting tomorrow, Feb 17 in Los Angeles.
“California Dreamin” is opening in conjunction with Frieze Art Fair and Los Angeles Art Week. I’m delighted to be back at Dorado 806 for my second group show, this time curated by owner Amelie Laurice and Meghan DeRoma.
The opening party is this Friday 2/17 from 6-10p at 806 Broadway in Santa Monica. While I can’t be there in person, I’ll be there in spirit. Dorado openings always have great music (live DJ), sponsored drinks and draw a great crowd, so if you find yourself on the west side, come by and bring friends!
This piece, as well as my painting, “isn’t red the softer color?,” inspired by Joshua Tree’s winter sunsets will be shown and are available via Dorado 806. To inquire, please reach out to Amelie at AL@dorado806.com.
The show runs until March 3rd. I’d love for you to see it! If you’re not in LA, request a catalog of my currently available work by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Many blessings and thanks so much for your support. 💖