SEARCHING FOR THE STARS
An interview with Daniela Manutius-Forster by Alexander De Cadenet
Transcript

Daniela Manutius-Forster describes her work generally as intended to be a portal into creative thinking and different spiritual dimensions. Fellow artist Alexander de Cadenet interviews her about specific aspects of her Art and vision.

AdeC: Some of your works such as MINSTREL STAR and SEARCHING THE STARS clearly reference the cosmos. What is it about your connection to the cosmos that inspired you to make these two works?

DMF: I feel there is a cosmic universal energy moving through all of us and I think of it as mysticism. I liken it to a cosmic mysticism and hope that my work affects and inspires people in this way. Albert Einstein was asked towards the end of life if he had any regrets. His answer was: “I wish I had read more of the mystics earlier in my life”. This is a significant statement since it was Einstein who moved all of us beyond the modern science of Newton and many others….ushering in a post-modern science and exposing all thinking beings to another way of understanding consciousness. I think of “cosmic mysticism” as an intense form of consciousness.

AdeC: Are the outlines of human forms in MINSTREL STAR and SEARCHING THE STARS referring to specific people in your life or are they general subjects? SEARCHING THE STARS seems to incorporate at the centre a Madonna and Child outline, is this a theme of particular interest to you?

DMF: My work is meditation. I launch into the deep seat of stillness and make contact with the energy that envelopes the world, the source that is eternally creating all things. It is in these ‘moments of creation’ that my work touches the spiritual dimensions within myself and ‘out-there’, opening myself fully to the supreme artist. In this space there are no characters or personalities, there is only energy - and from this place, spiritual forms manifest. Yes, the Madonna and child is a strong archetypal presence that pulls me, and I follow.

AdeC: Inside the form of the MINSTREL STAR there is a gold line crossing over the head of the human form. Could you share some insights into what this quite deliberate form is representing?

DMF: It is a signifier launching into the depths of the ocean of the collective conscious, up to the highest plane of self. It is this higher lucid self that is connected to all things, and to the source of all creation.

As symbolism, this golden line represents the focus of divine light piercing the mist of western dogma. The trademark of this quite deliberate form in western religions is greedily protected via institutional ‘churchiness’. The strong line in this work speaks to the starved mystics as a rigid patriarchal culture that is unable to tap into the sacredness and deep aspects of divine wisdom, compassion and the heart. C.G.Jung warned us that “we westerners cannot be pirates thieving wisdom from foreign shores that it has taken them centuries to develop as if our own culture was an error outlived.”

AdeC: Why do you concentrate on painting the outlines of your subjects as opposed to with features that may distinguish their unrecognisable uniqueness?

DMF: When I am painting, writing, collaging, or doodling, these figures stream through onto canvas and paper. These forms I see are beings of light and colour. Often times I see them and hear music. This began in early childhood, especially in nature, prayer, and sacred places. They are far beyond our sense perceptions.

AdeC:LISTEN shows a group of figures all seemingly interconnected and listening to each other. Can you tell us a bit about what inspired that work?

DMF: Yes, I visited William Blake’s cottage in the coastal village of Felpham in Sussex. There, among the ruling hills and trees, I had a vision of what I call spiritual beings in the trees. There were many of them circling the trees and they seemed to be listening to something or someone … the art, the beauty, and the visions of William Blake’s ‘Jerusalem’.

AdeC: Why do you concentrate on painting the outlines of your subjects as opposed to with features that may distinguish their unrecognisable uniqueness?

DMF: When I am painting, writing, collaging, or doodling, these figures stream through onto canvas and paper. These forms I see are beings of light and colour. Often times I see them and hear music. This began in early childhood, especially in nature, prayer, and sacred places. They are far beyond our sense perceptions.

AdeC:LISTEN shows a group of figures all seemingly interconnected and listening to each other. Can you tell us a bit about what inspired that work?

DMF: Yes, I visited William Blake’s cottage in the coastal village of Felpham in Sussex. There, among the ruling hills and trees, I had a vision of what I call spiritual beings in the trees. There were many of them circling the trees and they seemed to be listening to something or someone … the art, the beauty, and the visions of William Blake’s ‘Jerusalem’.

AdeC: BYZANTINE TREASURE seems to present a complex interwoven pattern of outlined beings, some larger and some smaller. Do you have a specific interest in the dynamics of crowds or ‘group’ energy?

DMF: I began seeing these interwoven patterns a lot during my study of Gnosticism. As spiritual presence they infiltrated my dreams and meditations. They are the storytellers. Their verse: clusters of light, of frequencies, sound and exquisite forms that vibrate very quickly, like a quickening: and therein is life in the story itself.

AdeC: Morris Graves, the Seattle artist said, “My first interest is in ‘being’, and along the way I am an artist. How would you relate to that statement?

DMF: The statement of Morris Graves speaks to me ‘from one mystic to another’. That “first interest is in being” is the deeper essence shining through from within the person. “Along the way I am an artist” is as though Morris knows the essence and inspiration that shines through and illuminates the artist as an awakened being. I feel sure he is switched on to the core of a universal intelligence.

AdeC: When you make a piece of art is it primarily for your own pleasure or for the benefit of others? Or for both?

DMF: Each work of art has a life of its own. All I aspire to is to open to it and allow creativity to flow. There are elements of self discovery in my work of which I am aware after the piece is completed. I feel a divine play of consciousness is at the source of everything I create.

AdeC: If you could meet three artists alive or dead and invite them for tea, who would they be?

DMF: William Blake, Chagall, Michelangelo.

AdeC: Do you think art can contribute towards the ‘awakening’ of humanity in any way? If so, how do you personally think it can achieve this?

DMF: Yes, absolutely. As we learn to establish a deeper access to our inner realms, and when we realise our divine essence beyond mere survival and sense perceptions, we reach an inner worth that is profound. When this happens, I know it to feel like a holy instant and awakening happens.

When someone sees and observes as work of art, a transmission can happen too, and further awaken in the observer a deep inner truth. There are many ways to achieve the awakening of humanity through art. It first begins in the heart, being to being, soul to soul and ripples outward. Those of us that experience and understand these principles, share in the spiritual dimensions of art. We are akin to natural intelligence, beauty and the transcendent power of creation that occurs spontaneously.

The point is, once this happens we claim it as our birthright and nurture it. In so doing, we grow and encourage others to grow. Of course, it is a gift to be an inspired, awakened artist … yet it is a deeper worthiness to inspire others to experience their own awakening. All this can be given consideration and thought in a political light, but that is another story …