Janet Morgan has had a long and varied art career, all with an underlying quest of depicting the energy in beings and places. She depicts energy in color, line and movement. Among her figurative painting series are: a pantheon of 200 deities, Wild Women, musicians and dancers (Middle Eastern and modern) and works from and about the Body's Energy. She has painted her interpretations of landscape all over the world, from Antarctica to Kyrgyzstan. She has been artist-in-residence Death Valley National Park, Weir Farm National Historic Site, the Babayan Cultural Center in Cappadocia, Turkey, Hanksville Elementary School in Utah, and most recently at the Luminous Bodies Residency in Toronto. She has taught at the Rubin Museum of Art, the Art Students League and the Chapel of Sacred Mirrors. For 18 years she was an Expressive Arts Therapist with adult cancer patients at Sloan Ketttering. Her large paintings have been featured on stage at the Omega's Women and Power Conference in New York City, at Burning Man in Nevada and at the Parliament of World Religions in Toronto, Canada.
My artwork is grounded in the body, the kinesthetic: movement, music, and dance -- and also in its subtle forces -- emotional, spiritual and healing energies. The quest to reveal the underlying energy source runs through all of my work-- like the Sufis I find no separation between the divine and the body. This past fall I taught a four session class at the Rubin Museum of Art on Creating Your Own Deity. We started by looking at deities from all over the world and physically getting into their postures and stances - this way we could to feel the impetus of each deity, its strength, rage, balance or peace. We then created our own deities starting with our own body's energy. As in my own work, our mainly Western perspective created new ways of manifesting traditional images that exemplify states of being.
And why is this art work be important? We live in a time of much anger and violence, and communication is often disembodied. The disconnect between ourselves and the natural world is causing serious problems. We need to come home to our bodies, our animal-ness, our human-ness, our body-temples. I worked for 18 years as an expressive arts therapist at Sloan Kettering with adult cancer patients, and I understand that there are times when it is advantageous to not be in our bodies. However, fully inhabiting our bodies as part of Gaia gives us knowledge of ourselves and our home, with the opportunity for healing and connection.
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