goal is to paint images that can exist in two worlds, the ancient
and the modern. What leads me to this path is my fascination for the
art of those who have gone before me, including those who used cave
walls for their canvas; a woven textile filled with symbology; petroglyphs
and pictographs; finely textured and structured stone walls and statues.
Maybe theirs was an adventure into an unknown world also. Did they
take risks? One thing they seemed to have in common was the simple
expression of a complex thought. I feel a kinship with them.
Peru, a country that withholds its secrets from the past or gives
them up slowly, the evidence of such an art form is everywhere: in
the exquisite woven textiles of Paracas, Chancay, Nasca and the Inca,
among others; in the mystery of stone in places like Macchu Picchu
and Vitcos; and in the gold artifacts of pre-Columbian cultures. Today
the indigenous people still carry the knowledge within them. After
several years of exploring there I am just getting a hint of the power
and glory of these civilizations and how they represented their skills
in these visual ways.
my work I am deeply affected by the spiritual nature of these
of the past. Shamans, priestesses, weavers and potters reflected
their innermost thoughts in the cave wall paintings and petroglyphs,
the stonework and in the textiles of the ancients. To me the
term "prehistoric art" seems somewhat pejorative, as if it was
of a lesser quality. Nothing could be further from the truth.
That work truly
does live in two worlds, the ancient and the modern.
Campbell, in his analysis of cave art and prehistoric art says,
address and appeal of any traditional art is of two degrees or
an exoteric, or popular range, addressed to the well-being of the
community and the harmonious organization of the community.
an esoteric, or not easily understood range, made known only
initiates through trials and transformative revelation."
I can build a bridge between the traditional esoteric expressions
of long ago artists and this culture, and invite the viewer to step
in and pass through from one world to another, then I am putting my
expression on canvas or paper the way I want to.
. . Ken O'Neil
Lives in Taos, NM