About an hour away from Penn’s campus there is an artist who has been practicing his art for over 30 years. Alex Grey, a traditional oil painter, is also known for his work in the visionary art and psychedelic culture community. His work encompasses many different aspects of spirituality and mysticism, and he has gained a large following of people worldwide.
The artist is acclaimed for his book, “The Mission of Art,” along with many other published works. He has participated in many exhibitions around the world including the Sydney Opera House, InterCommunication Center in Tokyo, Japan; the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid, Spain; and the ZKM Museum in Germany. In addition to his art work, he lectures on topics ranging from art history to alchemy to Ayurveda at various universities and cultural institutions.
Alex Grey’s studio is located on top of a mountain outside York, Pennsylvania in the middle of nowhere. There is a narrow dirt road that leads up to the house, but you can’t see it unless you are actually looking for it. The only thing standing out is a large pine tree with what appear to be small faces carved into it.
When you walk up to the door there are two
Alex Grey, with his patient wife Allyson, have been living in a little house in the hills above Los Angeles for almost twenty years. The house is a place of pilgrimage for those who share his spiritual vision.
You can see that vision in his paintings: radiant, color-saturated, hallucinogenic visions of a universe permeated by the divine. His art is on the walls of celebrities like David Lynch and Courtney Love and Keanu Reeves. It hangs in the homes of many ordinary people as well, including mine.
These paintings are not merely beautiful; they are also difficult to look at. The experience they put you through is not easy to describe. They’re more like psychedelic visions than illustrations of ideas about spirituality.
As a critic once wrote, “Grey’s work is less an invitation than a summons.”
A visit to the Chapel of Sacred Mirrors will be an unforgettable experience. Located in the center of a three-acre organic farm, The Chapel is an inspiring place to explore your unique spiritual path and reconnect with Nature. A stunning array of visionary art by renowned contemporary artist Alex Grey offers you the opportunity for focused meditation and inspires the mind’s eye to contemplate infinite realms beyond space and time.
The Chapel of Sacred Mirrors is a museum, a sanctuary and a pilgrimage destination where visitors may enter through one of two doors: the Portal of Sacred Mirrors or the Portal of Divine Love. With more than thirty life-sized paintings by Alex Grey that depict humanity’s evolutionary journey from primordial cellular consciousness to divine cosmic consciousness, this architectural masterpiece is sure to inspire awe and devotion for generations to come.
The paintings are based on The Tibetan Book of the Dead, which has been used as a fundamental guidebook for Death and Dying since it was written in the 8th century by Padmasambhava (considered “the father of enlightenment in Tibet.”) It is a manual that allows the reader to transform their fear of death into spiritual awakening. Alex Grey uses this book as his main source material, interpreting its imagery in ways that make it relevant to our present day lives.
Alex Grey’s work has been described as visionary, archetypal, mystical, and psychedelic. His art bridges worlds—spiritual, psychological, and physical.
In his monumental Sacred Mirrors series (1978–2003), Grey has created a visionary cosmology linking humanity to the natural world and the cosmos through mandalas that function as maps of both the psyche and the universe. His paintings, installations, sculpture, performance art, books and music are vehicles for his profound inquiry into human consciousness and the nature of reality.
The Emerging Cosmic Christ is Grey’s most recent body of work in which he channels a collective visual language to express the emergence of a new understanding of our relationship to self, other, and planet through an image-based cosmological mythos. The epic story unfolds across paintings and related works in a variety of media.
Grey’s body of work is included in prominent collections throughout the world including: The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Museum of Modern Art; Whitney Museum of American Art; The Brooklyn Museum; Bibliothèque Nationale de France; Victoria & Albert Museum; British Museum; Museé du Louvre; Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris); Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Beyeler Foundation (Basel
Alex Grey is an artist best-known for his paintings of the human body and mind. His work often depicts complex anatomical systems, such as the chakras or the nervous system, but also includes a number of more fantasy-based images.
In addition to painting, Grey has produced several books on art, spirituality and consciousness. He was born in Massachusetts in 1953.
Alex Grey’s art is about the relationship between body and spirit, matter and energy. It’s about the borderlands where science meets mysticism. It’s about the space where biology meets technology.
I was first introduced to Alex Grey’s art by my friend Aubrey Marcus, who’d been a roommate of Alex’s in college. Aubrey pointed out that much like modern dance, Alex Grey’s work was more accessible to average people than most forms of visual art (which to me seemed like a pretty obvious statement). I’ve never really seen any kind of visual art that moves me in such an emotional way as Alex Grey’s work does.*
Alex Grey is one of my favorite artists, but even better than his artwork is his books and lectures on consciousness and creativity. If you’re interested in either one of those things, I highly recommend them.**
**Here are some links:
Books by Alex Grey: http://www.amazon.com/Alex-Grey/e/B001H6M2D8/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1352327708&sr=8-1
Lectures by Alex Grey: http://www.alexgrey.com/workshops