Back Cover Copy
ART / SPIRITUALITY
“Mr. Grey's paintings, as detailed and anatomically accurate as medical illustrations, present man as an archetypal being struggling toward cosmic unity. . . . Grey's vision of a flawed but perfectible mankind stands as an antidote to the cynicism and spiritual malaise prevalent in much contemporary art.”
--New York Times
“. . . it is only Grey's inquisitiveness, his desire to understand the cosmic metastructure of humanity, that drives him to such a rigorously detailed account of the typically unseen.”
This unique series of paintings takes the viewer on a graphic, visionary journey through the physical and metaphysical anatomy of the self. In his exploration into the nature of man/woman, Alex Grey portrays the nervous, vascular, skeletal, and other bodily systems with a disarming, anatomically exact realism. He then passes to spiritual/energetic systems with images such as Universal Mind Lattice, envisioning the sacred and esoteric symbolism of the body and the forces that define its living field of energy.
The Sacred Mirrors, presented here in full, have been exhibited worldwide. The figures are life-sized and face directly forward for a mirroring effect: standing in front of the paintings, the viewer can “see into” himself or herself. Further, Grey has painted the various systems in an ideal, healthy state so that they can function as an aid in healing visualizations or meditations. Portraying different sexes and races, the Sacred Mirrors also ask us to see ourselves reflected in others.
Essays by Ken Wilber, eminent transpersonal psychologist, and noted New York art critic Carlo McCormick explore the spiritual element in art from the vantage point of the Perennial Philosophy and trace the development of Grey's work--including his performance art--along the path of the artist/shaman. Grey's own essay explains the inception, construction, and symbolism of the Sacred Mirrors and describes numerous other paintings (also reproduced in the book) from his rich and varied body of work, including Gaia: The World Soul, pictured as the tree or web of life taking part in the continuous cycle of birth, sustenance, and death; and Journey of the Wounded Healer, depicting the shamanic descent, disintegration, and transmutation of the self.
Fascinated since adolescence with the themes of mortality and polarity, Alex Grey saw in the human anatomy a microcosm of the many systems and levels of order in nature. He spent several years in medical school studying human anatomy, with an interest in portraying the interconnectedness of body, mind, and spirit. His work has appeared in the Stux galleries, New York and Boston; the New Museum, New York; the University of California Museum of Art, Santa Barbara; the Chicago International Art Exposition; the London Regional Art Gallery, Canada; the Grand Palais, Paris; the Sao Paulo Biennial, Brazil; and in numerous other exhibitions.
“[Alex Grey's] work places him in a very small group of important contemporary artists; through his art he aspires to all three realms--reaching from matter, to mind, to spirit—in itself a very rare ideal.”