Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Henry Woolbert -- Dancing With Change

Art is best when it presents subtle beauty alongside wild, powerful drama. Experience it over time and watch your readings shift and understandings change. Look closely as the details of your deeply-held memories and hopes churn into a timeless tide -- excellent art shapes the future.

Woolbert’s ultimate goal is to express the appearance of inspiration. From the first glint of a new idea to the day it shines forth as a physical expression, Woolbert believes creativity and manifestation follow easily identified channels. This observation holds true for his artistic evolution as well as the changes and realizations in his personal life. Woolbert’s path steps with purposeful rhythm; the pattern of his movements over time reveals a creativity that is both unique and collective.

His discoveries contain insights for carrying forth our most deeply valued beliefs and living with individual integrity. Woolbert’s art expresses lessons on interconnection, rhythm, and kinetic energy – all with an ease that makes each piece simultaneously accessible and sophisticated.

The first lesson is that we’re all interconnected – we all come from the same place of pure creativity. Bright, true colors from across the spectrum swirl and hover above a quiet field of black; they shine with individuality even as they yield to the inevitable darkness from which they sprang. The universal imagination is depicted with infinite diversity and abundant newness.

Woolbert’s second lesson alludes to the timing of all those steps we share. With bright, empowering imagery, Woolbert documents the rhythm of his journey – he is dancing the steps as he marks a new path to follow.

Beginning with his Dancing Out The Demons series in 1994 and culminating in his current experiments with three-dimensional masks, Woolbert’s vision has led him steadily away from learned fears and harsh judgments, and toward innocent – even child-like -- expressiveness. From the spark of desire (the Alchemical series), to working as an individual or with a small group to embody that desire (Demons and Shaman Dancers), to sharing gifts with others (Shaman masks), Woolbert’s work maps out his movement toward manifestation.

Woolbert’s dancers bring the magic of manifestation into the body, making his third lesson kinetic. Movement helps with memory, actually awakening a new insight deep within the muscles of the body. More than learning a new concept visually or audibly, taking action allows for full ownership. Movement is essential for growth; it allows for new growth to be fully integrated and accommodated, rather than superficially tacked on.

In Woolbert’s Shaman Dancer images, the ordinary circumstances of life are removed. All that remains is the dance of individual sparks of light against darkness. When we peel away our attention to the distracting details of our lives and our habitual responses, only ideas, desires, and their fulfillment remain. Like the remarkable contrast of pure color on black, we must be clear and focused about the ideas we are manifesting.
The shaman dancers bring healing to different bodies and different desires. While some seem scary and some joyful, all of them are focused in their dance. The energy and movement swirl tightly, representative of personal healing. In the Alchemical series, the healing is more universal – movement is just as clear, albeit more cosmic and inevitable.

That inevitability is Woolbert’s final lesson. Manifestation happens easily, all the time. It flows with as much volume as there is space to flow. Our job is to clear the blocks, keep the conduit open so the gifts can flow, and to pay attention to what we ask. The Alchemical series reminds us of that need for quiet attention. It has a quieter tone – even a detached, spacey quality, like viewing it from a vast distance. We’re always looking for the potential, looking for a chance to make a big break, but those chances favor whispering over dramatic displays.

Whispering can be memorably dramatic, just as stillness lives peacefully with exuberant, fiery energy. Woolbert is still exploring that balance with the Shaman Dancers series, getting closer to a peaceful, unspoiled innocence filled with bright colors, exciting movement, and wild contrasts. The closer he gets to that innocence – where apparent opposites melt into each other – the more his work holds a childlike appeal. Viewing his work allows for the same freedom he finds, and the same courage to push through learned fears.

The most universal fear may be the void, the place of unlimited potential. In Woolbert’s work, the black background is significant; along with bright colors, it is the common thread through all four bodies of work. Black evokes the mystery of our origins, the unlimited potential for anything to originate and to return. Black gives more depth, an opening for the eye to dive. It makes the colors pop, provides a foundation for them to build intricate, shifting scenes.

As the later pieces progress in each body of work, the ideas and insights also build on each other, even when they seem only tangential. Each outline has equal value and clarity; they all need and sustain each other. Every mark is placed with minute attention to detail, like tiny polished pebbles in a mosaic. Like Woolbert, these objects are on a journey toward full self-expression. Each light step serves as a guide, smoothing a path to be followed.

Now that Woolbert is moving out into the world, it makes perfect sense to share these dynamic pieces; with more people sharing the path, their meaning will continue to grow. To view Woolbert’s artwork, go to insightartconnection.com, or call 719-588-9044 for an appointment.


Post a Comment

<< Home