This series is borne of my work as a therapist, working with traumatized adults. Each Mandala is a composite portrait, of people who I had the honor to know at very deep levels.
The word Mandala, as used in my artworks, means wholeness, whether self or cosmos. Here the wholeness has had challenges - breaks, rips, intrusions, sometimes off-balance or repaired. Yet the innermost core, the center, is durable, often made of metal, glass or hard shell. And it shines through the shit, the sand, the abuse. Each person represented by the collages has tenacity, determination, and endurance. Generally, the paper area outside the mandala symbolizes the world, one which can be confusing, dangerous or otherwise triggering of emotional pain.
Through the use of papers and other materials that I had on hand, I placed myself in both world and Mandala. A therapist can be a bridge, between past and present, between despair and hope, between the conscious and the unconscious. So here, too, for me.
As with all Art Therapy projects (directives), everything in these Mandalas has significance - each matrerial, each mark, each method of application. I spent lengthy contemplative time creating each one, choosing how best to anonymously honor the many amazing people who are represented.
I collaborated with the foundation papers, each of which presented technical and therefore aesthetic challenges. No straight edges of any of these and no laying flat of the pink and pale blue papers. All foundation papers are handmade, some or all from mills that, unfortunately, no longer exist.
All collages are hinged to 2-ply museum mounting board to help maintain stability. All boards are 37.5” x 30”. All materials are acid free, archival, to the best of my ability. Papers are listed in each individual Mandala description.
A note about the sand mandalas, Endurance Mandalas 4 and 5: in these, the mandalas and/or the centermost elements are not as secured, as clear, as in the others. These were inspired by a client who spoke metaphorically of the residual impacts of trauma as “daily quicksand”.
"Nothing can be changed until it is faced." - James Baldwin