Jon invited me to make a comment in the forum about visionary art.
I said this term is really overdefined and becomes self evident by scanning through the long list of links. But he overcame my reluctance by saying it should be less intellectual, more personal. So i take this gratefully as an opportunity to align my relevant experiences.
My story starts in the mythical age of the glorious emergence of THAT ART, Vienna 1964 in the gallery of Ernst Fuchs with my first one man show, shortly after being initiated into the Old Masters Technique by him. The famous five of the Viennese School of Phantastic Realism ( Fuchs, Brauer, Lehmden, Hausner , Hutter ) had gathered a large following of younger artists , called THE SECOND WAVE OF THE VIENNESE SCHOOL OF PHANTASTIC REALISM. (needless to say that there came many more waves) There were about lets say thirty artists who showed mainly in this gallery within the following years, encouraged with the fatherly love of Ernst Fuchs to aspire to reach up to the stars in art heaven.
Ernst introduced me through books and catalogs which one could find only in his studio to other artists who worked also in this manner in other countries.( eg Klarwein, Escher, Johfra) I realised soon that there was a simultaneus appearance of other phantastic painters as a world wide phenomenont that stood in sharp contrast to the attitudes of modern art.
Fuchs was teaching the old masters technique privately and Hausner later became professor on the Viennese Akademie. Paetz, Helnwein , Hechelmann and Jochen Wahl became my closest friends . We all had had very differnt ideas but the fine illusionistic technique was the common denominator of our works. The book Manierismus by Gustav Rene Hocke was our bible.
When i moved to Switzerland in 1968 i met Giger and had a show together with him , he did not yet work with airbrush then. Here i also learned about the existence of Psychedelic Art. I did not work anymore in the Old Masters Technique and was basically interested in content and strong concept- not so much in the beautiful-and-fine. The roots of my stone-period are in Switzerland.
Back in Austria in 1972 I was assistent of Professor Ernst Fuchs at his seminar in the magical castle of Reichenau. His genius attracted artists and visitors from all over the world , many are wellknown today and have also become teachers of the oldmasters approach to inner vision. (Hanna Kay, Olga Spiegel , Phil Jacobsen Rubinov, Wolfgang Widmoser,Bob Venosa...)
I moved to New York in 1974 and lived there in the legendary artist district Soho till 1986. I teamed up with my new friends from Reichenau , discoverd more kindred spirits, got acquainted with the Visionaries and Psychedelic Artists from east and west, taught the old masters technique together with Phil in the large basement of my studio in Green Street and realised soon that the New York art scene had absolutely no taste for THAT ART
I felt strongly that it was my mission to fuse the European branch of inner vison with the American, that this type of art was the first truly international art movement and so I organised a group exhibition in the Studio Planet Earth Gallery ( Isaac Abrams, Olga Spiegel, Hanna Kay ), an effort that led later to the formation of the New York Visionaries.
I was happy to discover the art of Alex Grey in a gallery not far from the studio, as a sign that the art scene was maybe more open than I thought and I met Antonio Peticov, who added the special South American touch to THAT ART . Unforgettable are also my meetings with Ingo Swann under the umbrella
of parapsychological art. (PSI ART)
Nevertheless the movement stayed underground. But there were a few individuals like Mikl Bell and Christian de Boek who had the strong intention to gather the spirits . Boeks website later became like a Who is Who in the World of Strange Visions.
1982 I published a booklet called SHARING LIGHT where I also made some statements about my artistic position and what i thought THAT ART is. This was my view:
Surrealism had developed into Phantastic Realism through natural evolution and Phantastic Realism changed into Transformative Art through the agens of the spirit of theNew Age . Furthermore, on the future level Planetary Art was already starting to emerge.
In all this was an underlying visionary current of inspiration, leading from the darkness of the Middle Ages to the coming bright Planetary Age
Personally I was not fond of being called a surreal painter, Surrealism is a historical place for me, and i didnt think of myself as being a visionary artist either because visions come and go and i wanted to formulate solid states of the human condition.
I remember many very entertaining brainstorming sessions where we tried to come up with the absolut perfect name for a group project of THAT visionary- manieristic- surreal- phantastic-realistic- psychedelic- new-age- psi--transformative-planetary ART.
At my return to Vienna in 1986 the phantastic realists were considered of no interest for the contemporary art scene, but the founding fathers of the movement had established parallel art worlds and were successfull in their own terms .
The remains of the Second Wave of the School of Phantastic Realism had dissolved into two groups: some were still working in the absolutely meticulous manner and the others had changed their stiles in various ways.
I belonged to the second group , worked on large formats quite loosely and confused my former collectors ( who suffered because i didn paint stones anymore). Obviously I had manoevered my self out of the main stream of THAT ART into unknown territory, from where watched its rapid growth.
The two books of Michel Random on Visionary Art introduced me to quite a number of artists especially from France which i had not seen before.
James Cowan , publisher of Morpheus Int. handed another handfull of remarkable artists over to the eyes of the public. It is e.g his merrit that the influence of Beksinski has impressed the younger generation.
Since I know Ernst Fuchs he spoke of his cherished dream to organise a museum for THAT ART and so it was not surprising that he managed to organise the Venice Art Fair for Phantastic Art where one could discover even more of the never seen before. ( Claude Verlinde, Judson Huss,...)
Damian Michaels gets the movement rolling in Australia and publishes a visionary art paper and organises a travel exhibition.
Phil , my dear friend since Reichenau came to Europe almost every year to give painting seminars which always included a visit with his students to my studio. In turn I visited him at his course locations and enjoyed to spend time with him, Michael Fuchs and the students . In this way I met more and more very gifted members of the tribe, who now make their mark in the web.
Phils book Drinking Lightning brought back wonderful memories from
our common times in Studio Planet Earth, New York. His profound insights into the relationship of art and spirituality and his discovery of the invisible tribe as the genetic pool of the artists of THAT ART are certainly plowing the grounds for a meaningful art of the future.
Three years ago i got my self a computer and plugged myself into the collective mind. Lawrence Caruana surprised me with his thorough investigations and evaluations of visionary art and the development of its network.
Morpheus establishes a museum for the Fantastic Arts in the net. His crew is also growing. For years i was thinking it cannot get darker than Giger, but here comes Barlow and prooves me wrong.
I met Peter Gric who also lives in Vienna , his stunning works his, computerskills and his links show me where the tribe might move to in the future. Through the net i make contact with other artists from his generation.
In the local gallery of Hanno Karlhuber old and young members of the tribe come together at openings to celebrate THAT ART
Brigits Marlins Society of the Art of Imagination and its presence in the internet unleaches an hitherto unimaginable flow of image-force.
Visits to the Netherlands with Phil reveal the outstanding genius of Johfra and the existence of a community of tribe members who have not been known here till now, with connections to France and to Eastern European countries . Rardy van Soest is in the process to create a museum für phantastic realism, Gerrit Luidinga is compiling names and images since years.
This summer i met Phil again and he showed me his recent magnum opus Eyes Of The Soul which collects 150 ! artists from all over the planet in one monumental volume. It took me three hours just to look through the color plates,so much was there to discover !
Okay, and here comes Jon Beinart and switches on the link cluster in the visionary art forum , where i find almost all assembled who passed through ---- this pages- plus more to discover-----isn´t THAT ART?
Vienna, november 11 th, 2005 D E
MESSAGE TWO from march 1982, new york
transformation in art : transformative art
transformation is the key koncept for the understanding of the current world-condition
transformation is the process of fundamental change from the "old world"
to the " new world “
transformation is a process of continual creation, the flow of evolution
transformation moves consciousness, through liberation, growth, expansion, self-realisation and transmission of the energy of transformation
transformative art is a mirror of and an instrument for transformation. it is the expression and transmission of the energy of transformation
transformative art transports awareness beyond the limitations of old belief systems-it transforms.
transformative art 1. reveals the limitations of the "old world"
2. leads back to the source and real values of life
3. tunes into the harmonic order and full potential
of the whole
4. expresses new possibilities, new ideals, new reality
models and the self-image of the new man
TRANSFORMATIVE ART CREATES IMPACT THROUGH THE BALANCED PRESENCE OF IDEA AND BEAUTY, MYSTERY AND MEANING. IT TOUCHES, INSPIRES AND ENERGIZES THE WHOLE BEING
transformative art developed indepently at the same time as many modern and postmodern "isms".it stands in sharp contrast to pure formalism as well as pure photorealism.in its methods it basically continues the traditions of the old masters yet applies it to the subjects of our time. it integrates and brings into focus artistic phenomena that have been labeled mystic, spiritual, transcendental, metaphysical , symbolistic, manneristic, visionary, surreal, fantastic, fantastic-realistic, magic realistic, psychedelic, psychic, consciousness, cosmic, science fiction, space, new age, and so on... art.
in addition i want to greet all members of the tribe which i met personally
on my journey , mentioned or not , and those i have not met,
with love and affection