New member: Elisabeth Deane

Deane_K-0003New member Elisabeth Deane writes:

“Grounded in the tradition of Indian miniature painting and fascinated by Tantric Art (both traditional and contemporary), I have found myself intuitively drawn to the use of geometric shapes, which to me, represent both the simple and the universal, the micro and the macro and the interplay of these dichotomies. In all my work I use natural pigments and either gum Arabic or egg tempera. Works are on Sanganer and antique Indian paper and gesso panels.

Creating joy through the combinations of colour is of paramount importance to me. For me, colours are a powerful force that create vibrations which sing. Deep crimsons, bright oranges, hues of blue, white, black, silver and luminous gold feature in my work. Many of the colours – cinnabar, malachite, carmine – have been sourced from the earth and ground painstakingly by hand before being applied onto the surface.

My interest in colour and its spiritual significance has become increasingly important Deane_H-0011owing to research into Persian (Sufi) architecture and Persian miniatures, in which concentric circles are representative of a spiritual path towards the Divine. Two examples particularly influenced my work this year: one is the ‘Angel Ruh holding the Celestial Spheres’ from the manuscript ‘The Wonders of Creation and the Oddities of Existence,’ a treatise on the marvels of the universe written by cosmographer and geographer Zakariya ibn Muhammad al-Qazwini (1203–1283). The other example is the myth of the ancient city of Ecbatana reportedly under modern day Hamadan in Iran. According to an account by Herodotus the city had seven concentric circular walls, each a different colour and a palace within the centre. Each circle is representative of the hierarchy of stages of the path towards spiritual growth —towards the golden centre. The concentric circles in the examples of traditional art I found had gold as their Divine centre, symbolizing the ‘sun’ and its centrality in planetary movement.

Deane_W-0020 (1)The Temple Gallery and The Prince’s School enabled me to continue with Master Iconographer Irina Bradley this year, who guided me in my painting ‘God as Geometer of the World’. The original image is a miniature from a French Bible (folio I verso), c.1220-1230. The image is of God drawing the universe with the aid of a pair of compasses. Below the original image, a text states in French, “Here God creates heaven and earth, the sun and moon, and all the stars”. This image is strikingly beautiful because it draws attention to the mysteries of the cosmos and the microcosm (a compass drawing a circle) being present within the macrocosm
(planetary movement). It also indicates the Divine Creator – a presence that is directly representative of ‘mystery’ and our limited understanding of this life.

“The same stream of life that runs through my veins night and day runs through the world and dances in rhythmic measures.” (Gitanjali by Rabindranth Tagore).”