The above photo is of a collage from a series entitled "Mandalas" by Douglas De Vivo. I had the opportunity to visit with him today at the Fine Eye Gallery in Sutter Creek and he described to me his process. We also talked about attending school, what his studio was like, what materials he uses to make his collages, and what his art means to him. In discussing his art we both agreed that there were lots of hidden meanings in our art and underneath the multitude of layers there are also hidden meanings too. Some he remembers, some he doesn't. It's a process. He layers and layers until it feels right. The post card I picked up at his opening says this:
"My collages are intended to hit people on different levels causing one to be drawn in, engaged, constantly surprised and never able to see it all." "Like the ancient symbols for which they are named, these collages are a metaphor for the complex levels of conscious and unconscious within each of us."
In a book I am reading (The I of the Storm) I found a correlation with what Douglas De Vivo says and this quote: "Quantum physicists assert that in any given moment, infinite possibilities are present. Some go as far as to say that there are infinite universes coexisting. The moment you act as if something is so, the universe of infinite possibilities collapses into one inevitable happenstance. When you look at something and say, 'This is what it is,' you are pouring your creative energy (attention and awareness) into that specific perception. The moment your awareness locks on to one possibility, all other universes collapse."
How we see things comes from what we believe. We live in an unlimited universe where everything is possible. We just have to believe that it is so. When we find ourselves believing in the lack of possibilities, we need to shift our beliefs. It is only difficult because we don't have what it takes at that moment to manage it differently. On page 112, the author (Gary Simmons) offers this advice: "What do I need that I don't have (or didn't have) which would permit me to be present to the judgment, without needing to be right or make the other person wrong? "...by not reacting to the judgment to make the other person wrong, you have the opportunity to create greater cohesiveness or intimacy when your focus shifts from self-protection to mutuality and shared purpose."
I am constantly amazed at how I can read something one day, go to an art gallery and see a piece of art and discuss it, and then find some sort of common thread that runs from one thing to the next. And I am always aware that when it is happening it is never by accident. There is always a Higher purpose for what comes "through" for me. I think that is one of our purposes in life...to see the connection and the thread that runs through each one of us. "You live from wholeness when you are connected to life." (p 102)
Douglas De Vivo's collages display that place "where the viewer can visually peel away layers revealing new and ever-changing stories and perspectives." Simple, isn't it? This complex life we lead is really that simple too. We only need to peel away all the layers in our life that cause us conflict in order to see the situation clearly. We need to understand that "there is nothing that is without movement, without change. Every single thing is either coming into existence, developing, decaying, or going out of existence. Change and movement are the heartbeat of the universe." (p.55)
As I mentioned at the beginning, everything happens to me for a reason, as it does to everyone. Today, I woke up, attended a Tai Chi class for the first time where I was being taught how to find my center...my balance and energy. Then, I drove over to the gallery where Douglas De Vivo's collages had a lesson all their own...one of exploring life in layers on paper. I came home and received a phone call where I was told about "The Four Agreements" based on writings of don Miguel Ruiz. Then, I picked up my book. Again, to quote the book: "Any worthwhile endeavor begins as an idea and ends with an outer accomplishment."
Embrace the possibilities!!