From the First U. Art Collective – Sacred Space

In this time of isolation, when we as a community can not join together in our beloved sacred space of the Meeting House, The First U. Art Collective would like to share this offering, expressing our unique perceptions on the idea of Sacred Space. We hope you enjoy our heartfelt imagery in this time of reflection and hope, as we all look forward during these wintry days of growing light.

 

 

A sacred space is a place distinguished from ordinary everyday spaces. Something about it — rituals that people practice there, specific events that have occurred there, or a more ephemeral yet powerful attraction — sets that place apart from other places. A sacred space may be overtly spiritual and religious and designed with that intent, but it can also be a place that holds meaning or solace for a group of people, or an individual, such as natural features, holy lands, or personal shrines. A sacred space may also be an inner space, such as is encountered in meditation, or an imaginal space such as a mandala. What makes a place sacred is the meaning and sacredness ascribed to it by people. During this time of isolation and unrest we are perhaps again redefining just what a sacred space can be.

 

Sacred Structures

Sacred in Nature

Sacred Human

Sacred Circles

Sacred Interior – The Mind’s Eye

  Sacred Shrines

 

Dedicated to our dear friend and colleague

Irene Allen

Ever curious, gracious and insightful, a lovely creative spirit
who valued the sacred in art and life, her love of poetry, her connection to nature,

and her beloved community at First Unitarian and beyond.

 

Life is a balance of holding on and letting go.

– Rumi

 

Three Prophets

Stylized from Google maps and depicting (L to R) Lumbini (birthplace of Buddha), Bethlehem (birthplace of Jesus), and Mecca (birthplace of Mohammed).

Annie Bissett

 

Sacred Structures

The heart is the hub of all sacred places. Go there and roam.

Bhagawan Nityananda

Wall of Windows – Hassan II Mosque, Casablanca

Greg Kniseley

 

Like our Meeting House, a mosque is sacred space for worship and serves as a location for prayer, vigils, marriages, funerals, and other ceremonies. The two photos feature Casablanca’s Hassan II Mosque, the largest functioning mosque in Africa and 7th largest in the world. The mosque holds 25,000 worshippers inside the hall.

In the black and white image, you can see a person photographing a wall of windows inside the hall, reflections off the marble floor, and prayer rugs oriented towards Mecca. 

In the color image, below, you can see the marble plaza, hall and minaret. The plaza outside holds another 80,000 worshippers. The minaret is the world’s second tallest at 689 feet. On top of the minaret is a laser light which is directed towards Mecca, the holiest city for Muslims.

Greg Kniseley

 

Marble Plaza, Hall, and Minaret – Hassan II Mosque, Casablanca

Greg Kniseley

 

The desire to reach for the sky runs very deep in the human psyche.
– César Pelli

 

First U Steeple

Amy Webb

 

First Unitarian Balcony

Richard Boober

 

Stairway

Richard Boober

 

Christmas Eve

Richard Boober

 

Candlelight Singing on the Balcony

Philip Lieberman

 

The temple is a point of intersection between heaven and earth.

David A. Bednar

 

Winter Window

Martha Rice Sanders

 

Magnolia Spring

Martha Rice Sanders

 

Magnolia

Martha Rice Sanders

 

To encounter the sacred is to be alive at the deepest center of human existence.

– N. Scott Momaday

 

Cistern in El Jadida, Morocco

Susie Dorr

 

Sacred in Nature

The sacredness of the world is that it pursued the light; the sanctity of the cave is that it never left the darkness
Brian S. Woods

 

Stone Water

Sally Barker

 

Looking North – Franconia

Sally Barker

 

Smuttynose Perch

Sally Barker

 

Mother & Chick

Sally Barker

 

There are no unsacred places; there are only sacred places and desecrated places.
Wendell Berry

 

Block Island

Acrylic on Canvas

Carol Giliberto

 

Sacred spaces are everywhere. Plein air painting is my space, where I feel nature’s infinite powers, wonders and healing force.   Carol Giliberto

 

Maine

Acrylic on Canvas

Carol Giliberto

 

Sunset

Dena Quillici

 

The Dock

Dena Quillici

 

Our Back Yard – Perseids

Acrylic on Canvas

Sue Meyer

This is a view of the Perseid meteors, above our neighbor’s fence. When conditions are right, our back yard (mainly parking spaces) can be a good place to see astronomical events. Several years ago we watched an eclipse of the moon, and the neighbors joined in, all of us leaning against our cars. I have shoveled snow by moonlight. When looking at the night sky from our back yard, a sense of peace descends from the greater space above. – Sue Meyer

 

Overcast Beach

Janet Downing Taylor

 

I took this picture because I wanted to hold onto a sacred place of such spiritual beauty, peace, and wonder right there on Roger Wheeler State Beach.  – Janet Downing Taylor

 

When I would re-create myself, I seek the darkest wood, the thickest and most interminable and to the citizen, most dismal, swamp. I enter as a sacred place, a sanctum sanctorum. There is the strength, the marrow, of Nature.

Henry David Thoreau

 

Secrets Within

Oil on Canvas

Mimo Gordon Riley

This work is all about marks.
On a black gessoed canvas I start making marks, painting lines, creating shapes, and putting down random bits of color that appeal to me. Before long they clump together and begin to resonate; I start to recognize that something familiar is coming into focus….I play with the color, the light, the shapes…pushing and pulling to develop more fully whatever it is that I have begun to see: a momentary vision, a place, a feeling, a rhythm, or a state of mind.
– Mimo Gordon Riley

 

Emergence

Oil on Canvas

Mimo Gordon Riley

Every painting is a voyage into a sacred harbor. – Giotto di Bondone

 

Mhamid Dunes

Greg Kniseley

If the desert is holy, it is because it is a forgotten place that allows us to remember the sacred. Perhaps that is why every pilgrimage to the desert is a pilgrimage to the self. There is no place to hide and so we are found. –Terry Tempest Williams

 

Mussachuck Creek Sunset

Greg Kniseley

 

Photographing slows us down and connects us to the sacred spaces between light and dark and to the beauty and wonder of it all.

–Susie and Greg

 

Sandpiper with Crab

Susie Dorr

 

Belvedere Sunrise

Susie Dorr

And while I stood there I saw more than I can tell and I understood more than I saw; for I was seeing in a sacred manner the shapes of all things in the spirit, and the shape of all shapes as they must live together like one being. – Black Elk

 

Sacred Human

 

The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe, to match your nature with Nature.  – Joseph Campbell

 

Tai Chi

Watercolor Woodblock Prints

Annie Bissett

 

 

Forget about enlightenment.
Sit down wherever you are
and listen to the wind singing in your veins. – John Welwood

 

Wind

Deborah Baldizar

To me sacred space has become the place inside that I go when needing comfort or escape.

 – Deborah Baldizar

Earth

Deborah Baldizar

Water

Mixed Media Drawing

Deborah Baldizar

 

 

The Kindness of Strangers

Ruth Emers

Mother and Child

Ruth Emers

 

Mother and Child – Abstract

Ruth Emers

 

 

 

Rimpoche of Tengboche gompa – 1993

Philip Lieberman

1993  photograph of the incarnate Rimpoche of Tengboche gompa (monastery). He is a Bodhisattva. In Tibetan Buddhism – a person who could have achieved Nirvana but chose to instead suffer the inevitable problems of life so that he could guide other sentient beings to that goal.  The Tengboche monastery is the center of worship in the Khumbu (Everest) region of Nepal.

 

Sacred Circles

 

Each person’s life is like a mandala – a vast, limitless circle. We stand in the center of our own circle, and everything we see, hear and think forms the mandala of our life.

Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

 

Tibetan Mandala

Philip Lieberman

A 15th century Tibetan mandala from the Jampa Temple, Lo Manthang Nepal

 a space for meditation.

Mandala

Beth Adouette

 

Contemplative Sacred Circles  – I discover or co-create with nature. They gently hold the physical and spiritual message of the moment, the wordless conversation between me, nature, and the Creator. – Beth Adouette

Prayer

Beth Adouette

 

River Bed

Beth Adouette

 

The life of expression is the tuning fork by which we find our way to the sacred.

– Mark Nepo

 

 

Sacred Spaces

 

Sacred Spaces

Wood and Found Objects Assemblage

Chiara Romano Van Erp

 

I created this three-dimensional work few years ago, inspired by Stone Age places of worship, and other mysterious man-made environments of our past with their unexplained secrets. 

Stonehenge comes to mind, but it is just a recent place compared to the Carnac Stones in France. And then there is the more recent discovery of Gobekli Tepe in Turkey that predates Stonehenge by 6,000 years!

Celestial observatories? Solar and lunar calendars? Religious worship places?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spiral Water

 Zambia, southern Africa, 2011

Dena Quilici

 

Canteen

Woodblock Print

Annie Bissett

 

In the state of consciousness natural to the field within the mandala – that of Self-realization, or non-duality – such opposites as inner and outer, or subjective and objective, male or female, matter and spirit, are all grasped as connected, married, ultimately unified.  – Pema Chödrön

 

Sacred Interiors – The Mind’s Eye

 

Look upon paintings with eyes of mystery rather than judgement. Support the need to enter into the sacred space beyond evaluation.Michele Cassou

 

Song 4

Acrylic on Canvas

Irene Allen

 

Song 5

Acrylic on Canvas

Irene Allen

 

To live in this world
you must be able

to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it
against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to
let it go,
to let it go.

 

– Mary Oliver

 

 

Goldfinches in the Moon

Digitally Created Work

Thomas Terceira

 

Mundus 3

Digitally Created Work

Thomas Terceira

 

Alchemical Man

Digitally Created Work

Thomas Terceira

 

 

Untitled

Collage and Ink

Michael Walczak

 

The sacred space abstractions for me respond to the inner space one may find in meditation or self-exploration during this difficult time.  The sacredness of the space is both the joy and sorrow we may discover as we let go and visit our inner selves.

– Michael Walczak

 

 

Sacred Shrines

 

Every childhood has its talismans, the sacred objects that look innocuous enough to the outside world, but that trigger an onslaught of vivid memories.

Steven Johnson

 

Altars

Nancy Worthen

I create small altars in areas of my home. These small altars celebrate nature, memories, creativity, people and other sacred aspects of my life.  Elements vary, but each one contains hand-crafted items, pieces of nature and sacred objects from Buddhist and pagan traditions. As I move through my home, these sacred spaces bring me comfort. – Nancy Worthen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Covid Memorial

Nancy Worthen

 

Sacred Hands Nest

Amy Webb

From the randomness of found objects and saved treasures, these assemblages come together over time as little shrines, echoing Vanitas themes of transience, memory and a gentle nod to mortality. – Amy Webb

 

Vanitas Shrine

Amy Webb

 

Pomegranate Underworld

Amy Webb

 

The Peace Flag Project

Celebrating peace through the tradition of peace flags

reflecting positive wishes for the world.

Creating Sacred Space

 

Peace Flags

 

Peace Pole

Dena Quilici

 

Luminaria

In celebration of the United Nations International Day of Peace

 

Somewhere within all of us is a wordless center… This faint confluence of the tangible and the spiritual is where art comes from. May each painting you do from that sacred place include an expression of gratitude for the extraordinary privilege of being an artist.

Richard Schmid

  

Your sacred space is where you can find yourself again and again.

Joseph Campbell

 

Curated by Amy Webb

With many thanks to Annie Bissett for her grace with words in the introduction, Greg Kniseley and Sally Barker for editing, and all the First U. Art Collective members who participated in this exhibit and helped to guide and inform the process.

A special thanks to Bill Koteff for his generous time with website support.

For information regarding this exhibit or the First U. Art Collective
contact amy.webb7@verizon.net