Art in a Post-Scientific Culture
A Talk with Rhythm
BY WILLIAM HENRY PRICE
In this performance/talk I want to bring us into intimate contact with our ancestors through music and art. It gives us a startling perspective on where we are going now. By turns we’ll dig into ancient and modern art and music.
We move from contemporary works by Steve Reich, Barbara Kruger, Brice Marden and others, to the pottery vessels of Neolithic Goddess cultures, whose pattern language was so brilliantly elucidated by Marija Gimbutas. I will take us inside the complex musical rhythms of the Black Sea region, playing frame drums, and also play a rhythm I believe was played in the city of Ur 4500 years ago.
We live in a dominator culture built on materialism, yet everywhere else in history, art functions as spiritual technology. Amazingly, the fascinating journey of objective science has led us back around to our poetic origins. I believe science is at the threshold of non-physical realms, familiar to Bards and Rishis. The scientist of the future is an artist.
And those Neolithic pots are not just pretty, they’re divine!
Please join us for an interesting evening of conversation and performance.
When: Thursday, June 1st 7:00 p.m.
Where: William Henry Price Studio
348 Depot St, Suite 180,
Pink Dog Creative
Asheville River Arts District
For Registration and Payment, please click the button below.
Other Possible Lectures & Workshops
William brings years of studio and field experience to these insightful sessions
on the spiritual traditions of art and nature.
THE ART GODS MUST BE CRAZY
One hundred years ago, Marcel Duchamp mounted a bicycle wheel on a stool and placed it into the rarified space of art. And while Duchamp was endeavoring to “put painting once again to the service of the mind”, Bushman shamans of the Kalahari were making images in the service of spirits, as they had done for thousands of years. In this talk, William re-frames Duchamp’s quizzical art by taking us deep into the rock art and ritual of the San Bushman.
We will look at San Bushman paintings on rock faces and decipher their meanings. And we will decipher Duchamp as well, as we watch him erasing traditions, seeking freedom from dogmas of any kind. These are the bookends of art as spiritual activity: the Bushman having no concept of art apart from its function, and Duchamp wanting no “art” beyond concepts.
From this dialogue, a stunning question arises. Can we embrace both? Come and enjoy the wit and grace of both Duchamp and the Bushmen of the Kalahari.
NAVAJO AND TIBETAN SAND PAINTINGS
For both Tibetan and Navajo, the sand painting is the visible form of the chanting within the ritual. One does not come without the other; in fact the Navajo medicine man who conducts the sand painting is often called a Chanter.
Like the Navajo chant cycles, Tibetan painting engages the central animating powers of the universe. On opposite sides of the world, these traditional ceremonials invoke a higher order to re-establish harmony in this world, what Navajos call Hózhó. This talk goes deep into the esoteric power of beauty itself.
MONET IN THE GARDEN, EINSTEIN ON THE TRAIN
“Suddenly I realized the magical qualities of my pond.”
At the very same moment that Einstein entered into his profound exploration of time by studying light, matter and motion, Monet discovered the moment out of time through absolute attention to light.
Einstein demonstrated the existence of light particles, and Monet, too, found a color language of quantized matter. With their fields of quivering particles, those paintings disintegrate material substance. Einstein showed that light has energy, therefore it has mass.
Both men deeply contemplated the nature of time/space. Indeed, one can see in Monet’s Water Lilies the very image of Field Theory! This talk is a lively and rhapsodic appreciation of artist and physicist.
DREAM ORIGINS OF LANGUAGE
Pre-verbal Meaning in World Art
In this talk we explore the dream origins of language as revealed by patterns in world arts. Beginning with a personal dream, I relate specific dream narratives regarding encounters with living language forms, which are at the core of creation.
We see how artisans obsessively employ visionary designs. We look at the meanings in the pattern languages of early China, the Amazon, Africa, Tibet, the early Celts, and others. We see how these patterns are the mythic DNA of the people, essential to the life of the culture.
THE SECRETS OF THE SISTINE CEILING
When Michelangelo said, “I saw the angel in the marble, and I carved until I set him free,” he was articulating a Platonic ideal so invigorating to the Italian Renaissance. Florence, and especially the Medici Palace, had become the convergence point of a multicultural revival, quite anathema to the Church of Rome.
The young Michelangelo avidly studied the long-hidden teachings of Egypt, Greece, and the Jewish Kabbalah. He and his compatriots desired a fusion of all mystical traditions, and the Sistine Ceiling fresco powerfully expresses this esoteric worldview right in the heart of the Vatican.
We will look into the symbols and stories depicted in this astonishing painting, mark the influences of Ficino and Pico della Mirandola, and see the Chapel’s design as an adumbration of the most revered Solomon’s Temple.
MAGIC FLUTE, MAGIC LUTE
Mythological and functional magic of these musical instruments
Apollo, Orpheus, Pythagoras
Fiddle players of Africa, Middle East, Asia, the Americas
Reeds and Eagle bones
Central Asian music
THE MIRACLE OF CELTIC ART
The Gospel Books of Lindisfarne, Kells and Durrow
Who were the early Celtic monks?
Druids and sacred speech
Celtic metalwork, magical art
forms transformed into illuminations
Sarmatians! and Persians in the British Isles; the Eastern influences
The Phoenician origins of the Britons
Gnostics, the Celtic Church and Rome
Miracles, Columcille, St Cuthbert
THE ANCIENT ROOTS OF MODERNISM
How did we arrive at the distortions, abstractions and weirdness of Modernism?
Part of the answer can be discerned in Gauguin’s search for paradise in the south Pacific. Einstein, Monet, Picasso, Jung, Freud, Stravinsky, Steiner, Yeats and Hopkins, all breeching the gate at once, all searching to recover a seemingly lost vitality; they struck out to the frontiers of Africa, Oceania, India and Asia, as well as the interior frontiers of the psyche.
We will look inside Monet’s Water Lilies, Picasso's Demoiselles d'Avignon, the Great Banking Crisis of 1907, the “Firebird,” the Wars and the Great depression, through to Rauschenberg and Kiefer to gain a new perspective of this age.
Sanskrit, Gregorian, Hebrew, Maori, Ainu, Lakota
Art is the practice of potencies, and chant is the focused use of sound. In virtually all intact cultures, the names of the Holy Ones, the gods, are kept secret because of their invocatory power. Language is multi-valent, and singing can occur on many spiritual levels at once. This is the essence of chant.