image: Kim Evans
Front cover image: Roku Sasaki
Julie Baroh and Liba WS
August 26th - November 5th 2017
19th Century Symbolism drew its first true breath with the release of the French translation of the works of Edgar
Allen Poe in 1847, sparking the imagination of Charles Baudelaire, who went on to write the infamous Les Fleurs
du mal, a set of poetic prose that set the French literary scene on fire. It was only a matter of time before the fevered
visions of the writers would infect both composers of music and visual artists. Drawing from mythical mysteries and
the human inner world, the Symbolists sought to free themselves from the rigid constraints imposed by institutional
reason to connect with the natural flow of life, using unique combinations of language and visual symbols to convey
meaning. The result can be uplifting and melodical, or dark and brooding or a range of grays in between, often deeply
felt and indescribable.
Much has transpired since the first manifesto on Symbolism was created back in 1886 (and hence the movement was
labeled “Symbolist” from the previous label of “Decadent”), but the original intent has never left us. Officially freed of
constraint by all but the artist’s own boundaries, Symbolism has moved into the 21st Century as much a mysterious
creature as it was when it first blossomed. We are still fascinated by the veiled mechanics of the human mind, even as
we close the gaps in worldwide communication and culture. The more we know, the bigger the mystery grows. Our
symbolic vocabulary is a cacophony of meaning, richer than ever but more difficult for the artist to juggle. In some
ways, being a Symbolist now is more difficult than ever before. The artist must resist the temptation to repeat another
artist’s vision, but in the same vein, avoid appropriating cultures alien to his/her own, which can be difficult when one
finds their own culture old, mundane, shriveled. Artists of the 21st Century must dig even deeper, into the rich, fertile
soil of their psyches to harvest the cornucopia of what is the human spirit. Unfortunately, the majority of artists find
themselves hung up on which type of shovel to dig with. It is only a handful of creative people who move forward to
chip away at their inner world, thick with analogy, myth, knowledge and intuition.
Combined with truths, observations, cultural analogy and often a sense of humor, the modern Symbolists of today
force the rest of us to reflect inward, pick up our own spades and shovels and picks and dig a little ourselves.
Symbols offer a portal into a deeper understanding than words alone can. They make us think on an intuitive level.
Symbolism didn’t start in the 19th century and neither did it die after the movement faded away. Spiritual symbolism
has been around since we could draw. Paleolithic caves display our oldest art and these ancestors clearly made our
first symbolic representation. I am not referring to the representation of hunting scenes but rather the triskels,
spirals, animal spirits and alien looking figures which adorn our oldest earthen galleries. They tell the untold, hidden
Great symbolists mark every artistic period but it wasn’t until the 19th century that a symbolist “movement “ was
formed. We can ask ourselves ‘what changed’? Perhaps it was the new world of industry, the disconnect from nature,
the big cities, the loss of community and the new religion of Newtonian science. Symbolists also complained about
the rigid banal representation in art of the time. There was a thirst for the spiritual, the occult, the hermetic secret
story of the soul that would reveal how to navigate this experience in grace, peace and passion.
The 19th century symbolist movement specifically referred to a spiritual symbolism. Their movement celebrated the
revival of the old mystery schools with a new and modern perception of ancient and universal messages. In 1886 the
French poet Jean Moréas’ created a symbolist manifesto and stated that a symbolist painting does not represent what
it is showing but rather what the subject makes us feel. In his first printing of the manifesto he said that symbolism
is the “enemy of teaching “ Moréas went onto explain how the symbol itself was subject to greater more “primordial
ideas”. The experience of these ideas being the main objective. The symbolist movement was inviting us into
presence, into direct connection with Spirit through symbolic exploration.
In today’s world, this is more relevant than ever. Our lack of profound intuition, connection and respect for Nature,
Spirit and community is destroying the Earth. Materialism, greed and consumerism have given us an escalation of
pollution, social disparity, and species extinctions. This of course means that there is still a true hunger for deeper
meaning, and harmony with community, Nature and Spirit. Symbolism never died; it just exploded out of the
stylistic boundaries of the 19th century. We find it today, alive with passion, colour and freshness digging deep into
the ancient mysteries as well as the presence of the moment.
Modern symbolists do not unite around a specific style as our 19th century predecessors did. Rather we see
symbolism straddling many of the contemporary styles. Symbolic portrayal is seen in visionary art, lowbrow art,
outsider art, pop surrealism, surrealism, magic realism and even ‘contemporary art’. This wide range of styles which
embrace modern symbolism offers a certain anarchy, a freedom of choice that in earlier movements was not as
available. This is a double-edged sword. On one hand symbolists are not recognized as a movement due to the lack of
stylistic coherence. On the other hand, artists are not constrained by rules and regulations.
This show of symbolists brings together an eclectic group of artists, all with vision and our personal form of
symbolism. The common thread is found through the stylistic choice of the curators rather than a predesignated
style imposed by a movement. It is a fresh and deeply personal representation of Spirit.
An excerpt from METAPHORIC MIND: The Significance of a Symbolist Resurgence within
the Visionary and Fantastic Realist Art Movements of the 21st Century: Aloria Weaver.
The metaphoric mindset (the ability to think, act and perceive symbolically) is, in effect,
an extension of consciousness beyond normal sense perception, into multiple dimensions
of reality. Symbolic action, through art, reveals the imaginal realm, giving validation to
the diaphanous sphere of intuition and anchoring it in the physical dimension. Contrary
to positivistic thought, the imaginal realm (or the “Mundus Imaginalis”, as Henry Corbin
named it) is as real as, if not more real than, the material realm. It is the causal world from
which all perceptible sensory phenomena emerge. The metaphoric mode of thought and
perception grants us access to multidimensional cognizance.
If we are brave enough to traverse the threshold of the Mundus Imaginalis, to go beyond
material reality, we must first construct a bridge between these spheres. That bridge is
Art. We must seek out the hidden meaning in everything, peering past the veil of illusory
phenomena to the truth concealed at the heart of all things. It is impossible to overstate
the implications of engaging with art or reality in this way. The loss of ability to think and
perceive metaphorically or symbolically is a missing link in our ability to understand the
sophistication of ancient cultures and civilizations, for many of whom a glyphic language
and symbolic ritual were integrated parts of daily life.
the Veil of
Oil, 23.5 karat gold
22 x 28 inches
Carrie Ann Baade
As a painter, I have discovered that no matter how personal I may be with my
symbolism, that life is an exquisite cliché which is universal. Sometimes I try to
see the world as it really is, yet I find that more than not my eyes, open or shut, are
seeing inward. The images in my mind are riddles that I answer through painting.
To create compositions where the image is at once the thing, and the thing it
stands in for, contains the capacity to go far beyond the picture plane, as the
image references a concept or ideas and acts as a signifier. This is a language but
also a conduit, an antennae, for meaning. When these paintings evoke, the object
becomes a door to other resonating meanings, emotions, and can be an invocation.
Symbolism is a method of speech, a language, a method of communication that
transmits as it transmutes. Within this method is the heart of storytelling.
Oil on panel
9 x 12 inches
A Pagan Romance, a burning love between humanity and nature; an unlit flame upon which the spark
of inspiration illuminates a hidden gateway to a state of re-enchantment.
This particular pagan romance, this love affair with the raw materials from which paintings
are constructed, requires a cultivation of awe and timeless patience to behold the evolutionary crest of
nature becoming art.
This inner pilgrimage, where artifacts are first imagined then made real, commences with the
offering of the sacred blood and bones of Nature.
More than the illusion of images painted on flat surfaces, it is the orientation and deeds of the
artist that light the way to the distant shores.
What message is fundamentally vibrationally transmitted through a work of art?
Perhaps only Kronos knows the difference between the surface art of convenience
contrasted with the oceanic depth of the art of the natural philosopher, whose impulsion toward a
magical plane of existence leads directly into a vast forum of practical and impractical actions in the
here and now.
To enter a state of enchantment is a constantly available option, one that requires a state change
from the pervasive conditioning of culture. Exploring the love of the dream is to willingly engage with
the living myth through a sacrifice of modernity and the payment of our undivided attention.
Redeeming the melancholy emptiness of nostalgia with creative action, the Symbolist
keeps the altar candle lit through concentration, knowingly imbuing the materials of the trade with a
sacredness they already contain.
When is a door not a door?
When it is a gateway...
when the artist passes through it,
returning with a torch light fashioned solely from pigment bound with dreams.
Oil & egg tempera on panel
My work references a hierarchy of symbols, in a continuous attempt to bridge the gap
between personal truth and universal experience. The vocabulary of talismans and
totems, staged in emblematic milieus, is meant to evoke a self-contained dreamlike
narrative through which viewer is pursued by reflected light and shadows. Here, primal
forces of desire and despair ripple under the surface of innocently benign lifeforms,
pantomiming an Ideal of seamless life, celebrating itself.
My painting, “Merciful Release” deals with the cathartic end of emotional and
metaphysical paralysis in the form of the golden cage, the mask, and the overbearing
ruins of a lost culture. At the foot of broken stairs, with his back to the garden gate, a
gilded hero stands with his hand open in acceptance. The bird in his chest has escaped
the dark ruins of his heart, into the sunlight. Gold leaf peels from his mask, revealing the
tarnished metal underneath. As the statue is reclaimed by the leaves of grass, his spirit
ascends, and both are free.
Acrylic on panel
9.75 x 16 inches
Symbolism represents the subconscious and the spiritual to me.
It is the door wherein we enter into the incomprehensible, unattainable yet
intuitive world. It is here that we explore the mysteries of the human psyche; the
state associated with the soul.
«The Truth Will Always Be»
Oil on wood / 16 x 17 inches
Symbols are like words. We arrange them interchangeably to convey our thoughts, emotions,
hopes, dreams, and aspirations. The same hold true with Symbolist Art. It is this and more. Whilst
words have the power to “inspire and create”, symbols, when used in Art gives us something
more…something deeper than the written word. A symbolist uses Symbols to convey something
transcendent, something that fathoms deeper realms of existences.
A Symbolist is a gardener of exotic plants, each with a different bloom and foliage that exudes a sense
of marvel and inspiration. They create worlds beyond worlds, and beings imbued with Spirit and Love.
They are the antithesis of contemporary artistic explorations which succumb into the negative aspects
of the Psyche.
The Symbolist is like a shaman, a Healer, a Visionary, a Mystic Prophet revealing something that can
unite humans to free ourselves from greed, power, war, and inequality. They preserves and conserve
what is vital, that which is creative, the side of us that is transcendentally Spiritual, that which makes
the Fallen Ones»
Humans have and continue to be
symbol making beings. We need
symbols to understand and tap into
what is outside the realm of our tactile
understanding. Early Symbolists were
influenced by the literature of the time
and took their inspiration from many
of the deeper truths shared by the
authors and poets of the period. Using
symbolic narratives and allegorical
material taken from both the ancient
and the modern I hope to create
imagery that lends itself to the same
humanist truths. Truths that the early
Symbolist authors persevered in many
of their works.
«The Sphinx, the Substance and the Dreamer»
Watercolor and gouache
14 x 16 inches
Many years back, I came across a photograph taken in the early
1930s of a tiny woman in her nineties carefully making her way
down the path of a grand old mansion. Widowed, she wore
traditional black. Deeply Catholic, she was making her weekly
pilgrimage to morning mass.
This woman was my Great, great, great grandmother Elizabeth,
nicknamed by her grandchildren “Little Grandma”.
I have been absolutely enchanted by this little figure with the Mona
Lisa smile, and have drawn, etched and painted her many times. In
this particular painting, I spent literally years building up the image,
then scraping it back down with the palette knife, over and over,
unsatisfied, until she finally came alive, sparkling, magical, reaching
out to imbue me with her lifetime of wisdom if only I would stop
I take the concept of Symbolism to the very core of my existence.
It’s a story with a million narratives, a song with a million
melodies. When I paint my grandmother, its not just mine, it’s THE
Grandmother, the Crone, the Fairy Godmother. She’s the keeper of
the family lore, the diviner of wisdom, the storyteller, the comforter.
Oil on canvas
22 x 32 inches
For me, symbols are another language. They are ‘visual voices’ that communicate more than their
singular image self. Symbols are messengers of feeling, meaning, stories, enigmas and insights,
that are at times a little Sphinx-like in their offerings of puzzles for us to solve. They are lively,
not static and they have an evocative aura that can touch us deeply. I feel that energy of symbols,
archetypes, fantastic beings and layered realms, bring timeless elements to artworks similar to
the other-worlds of dream life, and as an artist, I find I am drawn to heart-centered connections
offered in the language of symbols. I know I have found them when they inspire and peak my
imagination. And when they are present, this enables me to communicate more in an artwork
than I could by representing the world of literal matter only. I am reminded that symbols invoke
spirit and create a space to perceive the numinous and marvelous, as it is the symbol that can
breathe magical life into matter.
Carl Jung wrote of the importance of acknowledging and accepting our dream life, our symbols
and what they tell us about ourselves. It is in this unconscious territory that symbols are at their
purest, they originate from and through us. I feel–regardless of liking what we see or not in the
shadows and light of our dream world–if we separate ourselves from our dualities, from our roots
in nature, our instinctual and animal nature, from our wisdom of soul, from our natural symbolic
life, we miss half of who we are. If we live without connection, appreciation and respect of our
symbolic life and nature, as individuals and collectively, we are out of balance. And in doing so,
perhaps we suffer the same disconnection with our external world. Perhaps we are missing seeing
and feeling the divine, the marvelous, the magic, wonder and beauty in our totality and in the
world around us, as it exists.
“As a plant produces its flower, so the psyche creates its symbols.” - Carl Jung.
Acrylic on Fabriano Cotton Paper / 6.7 X 6.5 inches
Symbol, symbol on my page,
open up my heart.
Lead me to my higher self,
I’m ready to depart.
Incite my curiosity,
excite my hidden drive.
I am ready to explore
the secrets of the hive.
Symbol, symbol in my heart,
lift off the deep dark veil.
Hoist the masts of my good will
and lets prepare to sail.
Timeless symbol guide me true,
over oceans vast and deep.
Transcendant currents bring me home,
with peace and grace I weep
For here I am and always was
and for ever will be Here
The voyage was a great mirage
to make it very clear
that all is I and I am all
and Love is what
I hold dear.
Oil on canvas / diameter 23.5 inches
I consider my work to have very Symbolist intentions. My figures are often tasked with conveying the
emotional weight of a greater idea or narrative through iconographic or gestural elements. I gravitate
towards the human figure and a heavy use of archetypes because I believe that the truest way to strike
a resonant chord is to use the kind of visual nomenclature we all innately share. I think there is a good
middle ground between the transient cultural norms of today and enduring, vetted paradigms which
both acknowledges the former and references the latter.
For this particular painting, I knew I wanted to focus on the olive tree as a metaphor for two different
kinds of enlightenment.
The cultivation of the olive was life-changing for bronze-age cultures. Oil burns more cleanly and
with purer light than animal fat, or tallow, candles, which are smoky and dim. This first type of
enlightenment is about surpassing our lower selves and bringing clearer light into our minds. Moving
from the base of the figure up, the animal pelt, representing base nature, is clutched at, but then
superseded by an anointing of oil across the third eye, a traditional act of ritual cleansing. The olive
branches are a halo of peace, bearing fruit.
This painting also has a double reading. As olive oil became more widely available, people had more
daylight hours, and were able to use their time to read and study in addition to working outdoors. This
is the literal power of light achieving enlightenment through tangible study and human work. Moving
up the figure as a totem once again, the pelt, worn as a garment, becomes dominance over animals,
mastery of agriculture. The laurels denote both triumph and academic enlightenment.
This painting is a celebration of the enlightenment of the human spirit, and all the roads it comes by.
Oil and digital
11 x 14 inches
One of the many reasons why I do
art is because I believe that is time
to rescue the symbolic from the
overflow of age of information. The
act of creating fantastic or surreal
imagery is not escapism, but a way
to process our life experiences
through the lenses of not only a
beautiful, but also powerful visual
system. I believe this perspective
rescues the beauty of the tragic and
the profane. This is the peacock’s
tail, the Cauda Pavonis of the
alchemist, the moment our eyes
are open and we see the colors of
the world, to find meaning and
purpose in each step of our lives.
«Nymph in a
Oil on canvas
32 x 42 inches
Mark E Nelson
The Goddess drawings are my personal interpretation of many myths, folklore, nature, and beliefs.
Several of my influences are Joseph Campbell, Marija Gimbutas, Buffy Johnson and further readings
about other myths from around the world. They can be broken down into three series: Broken Angels,
Medusa, and Headdress.
Metis is tied to the Greek word for female knowledge and in some speculation also to Medusa. Who was
the Goddess of life and death before being transformed later into in one of the Gorgon sisters. Broken
Angels relates to Meso-America beliefs that woman mated with jaguar to create man. The things we
carry with us is the start of the Headdress drawings.
Animals of the Goddess take on different attributes depending on the cultures, beliefs, of observation
and importance in that world. The horned toad has been known to tell you which way to go on your
journey. Salmon and horses have been used as images or symbols of fertility. Patterns, shapes, forms,
statues, and animals embody other strengths or weaknesses in relation to the Goddess.
As an image maker, all these elements can help create a richness of symbols to give each piece of
artwork its own meaning. The models bring another layer of symbols to the work. There are a lot of
personal symbols that tell stories in these drawing. Some are obvious, others are not. I talk about some
and not others. I like to give the viewer some room to interoperate in their own way and hopefully feel
the respect that I have for nature and the Goddess.
«Veil of Medusa»
Black and white
12 x 19 inches
The painter is only a privileged intermediary for angels to transmit information which guide us
to the revealed (not found) knowledge of the world. It is through symbols that the facets which
shape our universe are exposed. We must remain humble and accept that if, at times, our
angels are absent, at other times they fill us with unknown revelations and teach us. If we are
not the tool of the artisan then there is no work realized! But if the angel holds our hand, then
the noumenal world will reveal itself on the canvas.
Who does the painting?
The Angel of course!
Thus, when we look at a painting or a work of art, usually we do not see the artist’s knowhow,
the virtuosity of the painter or the address of the sculptor, we do not see his culture, his
erudition. We don’t even see his transmitted message or the knowledge he offers to teach us.
Instead we become aware of the revelation of another realm where the mysteries of the world
are gathered. It is here that an Angel offers to guide our hand in order to reveal the future, to
expose our destiny and unveil the path that our future is leading us on.
«Petite Porte Induite»
Oil on canvas
8 x 12 inches
I’ve read that the term «symbol» was originally the name for any object broken
into two so that the two parts could serve as signs of recognition when rejoined. I
think this idea succinctly describes my feeling about imagery or «symbolism» in
The artist creates some thing which finds it’s missing half in the mind of the
viewer. If the work is successful the meeting is reciprocal- in the work of art the
mind of the viewer finds it’s own missing parts. Reunited, the work and the mind
are again complete.
Acrylic on masonite
11.5 x 14 inches
From time to time, there’s something I want to say, but I struggle to put my
emotions in words. The state swallows me, makes my throat hurt, and leaves me
speechless. My work is an attempt to express this nameless force in the hope of
making connections with people who have experienced something similar and
can relate to my painting.
Resonance ll, Decay
18 x 24 inches
Digital with ink
of us have more in common
than we may realize. These similarities can
flow so deep and unnoticed that even the rhythm of our
heart can effect how we perceive time and movement in our
world. In a way such uncelebrated things about the business of living
become unspoken truths.
For me symbolism presents a way that I can explore unifying
experiences in the hope that we can connect and expand our
definition of what is ‘like us’. I believe if we can find more
compassion for each other then perhaps someday our
circle of it can expand to include our entire
world and and every living thing.
Oil and gold leaf
5 x 7 inches
It is time for Visionary art to take its
place in art history. Visionary art is a
meaningful genealogy of symbolism.
Symbolism in the 19th century
occurred as a reaction to the cold and
scientific debut to the industrial age.
It used ideas to build illusions in the
way that Borges did with his writing.
Symbolism represents the natural world
with a beautiful lie. It illustrates the
vision of psychedelic consciousness
by using classical techniques. It is
a primitive instinct taking on the
decorative form of symbolism.
Oil and tempera on canvas
31.5 × 26 inches
One of the
many reasons why I do art is because
I believe that it is time to rescue the symbolic from the
overflow of age of information. The act of creating fantastic or surreal
imagery is not escapism, but a way to process our life experiences through
the lenses of not only a beautiful, but also powerful visual system. I believe
this perspective rescues the beauty of the tragic and the profane. This is the
peacock’s tail, the Cauda Pavonis of the alchemist, the moment our eyes
are open and we see the colors of the world, to find meaning
and purpose in each step of our lives.
«Portrait of a
collage on board
12 x 16 inches
Symbolism for me is a subject close to home, touching the core. Emotion or the
inner world is like an invisible painting medium. As in Pygmalion´s famous myth,
the artist brings life into the work through a mixture unique, honest and personal
feelings – painful in their intensity. The heart bursts open und reveals itself through
It doesn`t matter if it is painting, writing, gardening, cooking, sewing, carving or
doing any kind of handy craft with devotion. If it is done with a honest open heart, I
am convinced that Magic can happen and “the thing” becomes alive.
In Nature Spirit, I made use of natural materials such as leaves and twigs, which
I have collected in places where nature embraced me strongly and deeply: my
childhood forest in Vienna, Hampstead Heath in London and Torri in the Italian
Pencil & pastel on
20 x 27.5 inches
As an artist I
like to use different symbols in my paintings
. Symbols are telling a whole story by using just a single image,and
this is the beauty of it! Using symbols we can tell stories that can’t be seen
directly and make viewers to think and imagine and make their own story
when looking at the paintings!
«To Care For»
Acrylic & goldleaf on wood
11 x 14 inches
«The Bee Queen»
Acrylic & goldleaf on wood
14 x 18 inches
us to transform an image
into more than an image. I have
the feeling that it communicates
with something deep and ancient that
we have in common. The myths evolve,
keeping their roots transmitted by the
symbolisms of each period. By using a
symbol, it tells us something of its
origins, of an ancient time.
gold, silver and
copper leaf on Arches
12 x 14 inches
The core of my creative passion has been always ‘healing’ since I started my
career as a full-time artist in 2004. My healing pyramid is simply art that is born
out of my pure creativity. The process of creating art is also meditation that is
healing for me. Thus, what my specific intention of the healing pyramid is to share
unconditional love, peace and harmony with those people who need some gentle
healing energy through art in their everyday life.
At the spiritual level the pyramid is a symbol for the integration of self and soul.
In dreams the pyramid can stand for the death, but it also contains rebirth. When
I meditate by interacting with the healing pyramid, I sense that the pyramid
is becoming a kind of cosmic antenna that tunes into vast energy sources and
generates a certain frequency. In the air around and within the healing pyramid,
the received energy transmutes itself into a magnetic field. My alpha waves become
much stronger and meditation becomes deeper so that I may even be able to access
Akashic Records and achieve a higher state of consciousness.
The healing pyramid acts on the spiritual level, and also on the emotional level to
release negative feelings and to enhance positive energy. I believe everyone has a
psychic ability to unlock the secret codes of the universe, and we have a power to
heal ourselves alone.
Mixed media assemblage
24 x 8 x 8 inches
copyright 2017, All rights reserved
A Dreams and Divinities book for Krab Jab Studio
5628 Airport Way S #150, Seattle,
WA 98108, USA