A new gallery is up starting to chronicle all of the UFO paintings that are currently up at the I Want to Believe art show at Christensen Center Art Gallery at Augsburg College. I will be adding them to the Gallery page in smaller groups in case you are not close to the Minneapolis area. Group 1 just went up: The Lubbock Lights!”
I Want to Believe is on display until August 4th.
Here is the Artist Statement:
What is the difference between what we know and what we believe?
The Hopi people of the South West United States believe they were seeded by Kachinas or ‘Star People’ in their ancient past, and their descendants look today at the sky and await their return. Similar stories influence many Neolithic cultures including (but not limited to) the Aboriginals of Australia, the Inca in the Andes and the first great culture recognized by modern archaeology; the Sumerians. This belief about our origins has existed almost as long as human beings have… long before Christianity, Judaism, or Islam. Despite our culture’s sometimes comical or condescending view of the UFO phenomenon, UFO’s have never really gone away, only our attitude toward them has evolved. Do we demand fact from the established religions or do we rely solely on eyewitness testimony and accounts of people or events that are hundreds of years old and have been translated and copied for generations? I think we hold UFO sightings (and all “paranormal phenomenon”) to a different standard of skepticism than we do more classic religious-based visions or inspirations. According to the Encyclopedic Sourcebook of UFO Religions written by James Lewis, he estimated the size in members of some of the larger world-based UFO Religions in 2008. He estimated the Scientologists at approximately 150,000 members world-wide (and growing), and the Raelians with 55,000 members world-wide.
Psychologist Carl Jung came to the conclusion that UFOs were examples of the phenomena of synchronicity where external events mirror internal psychic states. He saw the UFO situation in a broader perspective than most. For Jung the UFO images had much to do with the ending of an era in history and the beginning of a new one. In his introductory remarks to his1957 essay Flying Saucers, he writes about the UFO events:
As we know from ancient Egyptian history, they are manifestations of psychic changes, which always appear at the end of one platonic month and at the beginning of another. Apparently they are changes in the constellation of psychic dominants, of the archetypes, or ‘gods’ as they used to be called, which bring about, or accompany, long-lasting transformations of the collective psyche. The transformation started in the historical era and left its traces first in the passing of the aeon of Taurus into that of Aries, and then of Aries into Pisces, whose beginning coincides with the rise of Christianity. We are now nearing that great change which may be expected when the spring point enters Aquarius. (Jung)
In a similar manner that the medieval alchemists projected their psyche into matter, Jung felt that modern man projected his inner state into the heavens. In this sense, the UFOs became modern symbols for the ancient gods, which came to man’s assistance in time of need.
The need perhaps was for wholeness again out of the increasing fragmentation of the modern world. In the early 50s and the beginning of the Cold War, when UFOs began to infiltrate popular culture, there was a great fragmentation in the world. Jung writes, “At a time when the world is divided by an iron curtain…we might expect all sorts of funny things, since when such a thing happens in an individual it means a complete dissociation, which is instantly compensated by symbols of wholeness and unity.” It was very relevant to Jung that the shape of the flying saucers was round, the shape of the ancient Mandala, symbol of wholeness and unity throughout history.
My new body of work explores not only the UFO phenomenon, but also the early iconography associated with it. For UFO researchers and other Paranormal investigators, the photo is a kind of evidence and therefore of greater importance than other art or imagery. Like relics or icons in the other early religions there are iconic images (photos in this case) of the early UFO phenomenon. “Classic” religions, which pre-dated photography, relied on paintings and other artwork to create iconography and spiritual imagery. So, I have chosen to recreate these early UFO photos in paintings to reference their spiritual impact on the fledgling religion. Going so far as to recreate scratches or color shift and other “defects” in the original photo or film. I believe this takes the modern viewer out of their skeptical culture-biased opinion of the phenomenon and helps them to see the imagery in a more spiritual context.