The Art of Breathing Light: Sculpture, Paintings, and Poetry: Interview with Sandra Cohn
▪ As an artist, what is the significance of doing transformative art at this time, during this century?
At this time in our history, we are in the midst of a shift in awareness very much like the shifts we have experienced in our journey through infanthood, childhood, our teenage years and adulthood as we move into ageless transcendent wisdom. As a people on this planet we have been young in our understanding of the nature of the interconnectedness of life and as is often the case, we have made mistakes in our learning process. These mistakes have been serving as a vehicle for awakening.
As an artist, I find myself called to express this journey into our true nature. It has been said that poets and artists, in their highest calling, are the ones who enlarge human consciousness by inviting the viewer to engage in an experience that inspires a deeper search for an understanding of the nature of existence.
Even as a young child, my inner world was absorbed in an encounter with the immense mystery of the Universe. At six years old, I spent endless hours lying on the carpet in my playroom with eyes closed, attempting to imagine the infinity of the Universe. Trees, to me, were portals of Light. I pondered the meaning of who we really are and what we are doing here while the rest of the children made mud pies and ran through the streets. I spent most of my adult years reading, peering, studying, working in the field of neuropsychology, hospice and grief work, and advanced clinical hypnosis; absorbed in a meditative quest for higher truths. Key to my experience was a near death encounter at 26 years old; a direct experience of all encompassing joy and beauty. My work as an artist and writer reflects this journey, both with compassion for our shared journey as we reach for heightened clarity and awareness during our often-challenging journey of life, and in direct relationship to the translucence of the mystery itself.
Sandra Cohn at Art 4 All People’s Phoenix Rising Exhibition in Malibu 2013
“Sandra Cohn’s ‘Psyche’ is an elegant and engaging combination of found objects and clay figure which to me signifies the connection of human form to the geometric off-casts of contemporary society. The weathered and rusted metal objects connect both the figure and the found objects to the forces of natural decay and transformation. Psyche is an appropriate figure to emerge from the disintegration of geometry by natural forces. ” Mike Grady MFA (Former Chair of the JFKU Arts and Consciousness Program)
▪ What inspires your own art?
I remember reading this beautiful quote at the DiRosa museum that said ‘The True Artist is a Visionary.’At the heart of our beings we are all creators. We all have this opportunity to look beyond our small, shortsighted perspective to a much larger vision that reaches beyond our times and ourselves. In this way, we all have the potential to become visionaries. Albert Einstein said, ‘The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.’ This is what inspires my art along with the beauty of watching us stretch to encompass deeper values with compassion.
I engage with my art and writing as metaphors for deeper wisdom, a portal to an encounter
that may uncover insight and act as a gateway linking us to the greater universe of heightened consciousness both within and enveloping us. It is an invitation to explore the mystery of ourselves and our universe, and an appeal to initiate a personal discovery of self-awareness. It is a call to surrender to the quiet powerful moments that shift our perception of life and transform our experience. One of my biggest pleasures is being present when a viewer engages with a piece and begins to share stories with me unexpectedly unearthed. It is a moment of intimacy and connection, linking us together in a shared journey to the heart of our being.
Spinning Wheels “Found Objects”
Integrating my sculptures with salvaged timeworn rusted metal pieces used in novel ways,
I create movement and interaction, as an invitation to shift perspective and experience altered frames of reference. Through symbiotic connections between the written word, sculpture, and paint, I call upon the senses in multiple pathways to experience the whole. I am drawn to that parallel with life, our senses not separated from the whole, but interfacing in a web of interconnectedness. As an artist I assimilate old pieces of broken necklaces, fabric, paper and even rose petals from my garden into my paintings, often using surplus house paint on roofing paper calling upon an aesthetic of beauty to arise from damaged, discarded, or commonplace elements.
▪ What does art mean to you?
The act of creating art for me is an experience of being flooded with beauty that flows through me at unexpected times, in unexpected circumstances, and and in unexpected ways. It is a very exciting process. I often have to be alone to allow it to surface. I’ve been asked about the process I go through in the development of a piece of sculpture, painting or writing. It may begin with an encounter at a salvage yard, (a place where I immediately turn into an ecstatic 5 year old child) or it may arise from a flooding of feeling during an encounter with the beauty and wonder of nature, music, or dance, or perhaps a piece of writing, be it my own or another author’s work. A piece may be calling to me from my unconscious, emerge during a meditation or a dream or arise during moments of solitude late at night, in early morning or at my favorite part of the day, dusk, and begin to push at me to be born until the tension becomes palpable and I engage.
There can be a sense of agitation, as a friend of mine calls it, ‘a thrashing about’ trying to get a hold of something that is moving me. At best, I enter a ‘zone” and engage in the calm center of being and creating. More often lately, my sculptures and paintings seem to flow through me, so that it isn’t until afterwards I see and understand what I’ve created.
I find a similar response when viewing artwork or listening to music, or viewing dance. There is an exchange of energy that is profound. The work often acts as a gateway between the artist and the viewer no matter how many centuries have passed. I remember walking through the Museum of Modern art in New York and becoming dizzy from the energy emanating from the work.creating in a variety of ways. In the beginning art belonged to all people. Then we had a rush of exclusivity in our culture that made us believe art belonged to the special few. Art is a call to our deepest being to express the Light within us. Art belongs to all people. It nourishes us, inspires us, shocks us, opens us, and expands our awareness.
More information about Sandra at her Website HERE