Healing Frequencies | Joanna Read
115 Empire Street, Providence, RI
September 1- 25, 2021
Artist Meet & Greet: September 16, 2021 5-7 PM in conjunction with Gallery Night, Providence
This exhibit of 22 drawings & paintings features integrative healing frequencies that have been working on and through RI artist Joanna Read over the last 18 months, drawing on mythical, ancestral, and energetic themes that have served to ground, empower, enliven and uplift her inner being in congruence with deep inner work. Motifs of the Divine Feminine Archetype and Seven Generations principle interweave throughout this collection of meditative images.
“This intimate body of work represents a soulful homecoming, and I am so grateful for the privilege to heal, create, express, and share.”
Along with supporting AS220, an additional 7% of all art sales will be donated to Ascend’s Evacuation, Resettlement, and Continuing Aid Fund. Ascend is a Kabul-based NGO that helps Afghan women discover the inherent value and potential in themselves and in others through intensive outdoor leadership training.
An additional 7% of sales support the Trevor Project, the only 24/7 suicide prevention helpline explicitly aimed at LGBTQ+ youth. The Trevor Project also offers expert-led suicide prevention and mental health crisis intervention training sessions for teachers, school nurses, counselors and others who can make a difference in a young person’s life.
Joanna has been serving the Rhode Island community for the last 12 years through art, nonprofit work, outdoor adventure experiences, and yoga teaching, and she works now as a professional artist, coach, and mindfulness educator.
One of the gifts of this creative journey has been experiencing ah-ha moments held within seeds of inspiration as those of living fractals, such as with this mandala.
I explored this image in congruence with the 1,024 hands beeswax mandala; as the layers of dye were drying on the Hands mandala, I was overcome with inspiration to explore the same ancestral geometric template, except instead of using hands as a representation of each ancestor, they became points of light: 8-pointed stars.
I was so amazed to witness the unfolding of these tiny stars enveloped within a larger fractal of the same geometry. What was even more amazing to me was to realize that this geometry also held the template for creating a thousand-petalled lotus, which represents the Crown Chakra.
It felt like the most amazing gift to witness its blossoming one tiny brushstroke at a time.
29” x 29”
Silk Dye, Beeswax, Frankincense, Rosewater and Ink on Arches
On view at @as220galleries through 9.25.
This 28” square ancestral healing mandala surprised me in ways I couldn’t have imagined.
It was created working from light to dark, adding progressively deeper hues of indigo, with each layer of shape masked off with beeswax. The process itself led me to touch into all 1,024 ancestral hands not once but three separate times as I added in individual palm and finger prints using a thin brush of hot wax.
I had sketched, tested, and planned this design in such a way that all of the left hands would hold a pearl of light as bright as the paper’s surface, and the right hands were placed in support of the left, progressively fading into blue in the outer perimeter.
I had been practicing this technique for years in my self-taught silk painting, and while I was nervous attempting such a big undertaking, I also had a certain amount of confidence in that I had done everything I could to prepare, and now it was time to take a leap of faith and apply my practice towards this bigger vision that I had been dreaming about and meditating with for the last 18 months.
By the time the final layer of indigo dye had dried and it was time to iron off all of the wax to witness the image reveal itself for the first time, I was elated. It was one of the most fulfilling moments of my creative career in that, I had attempted this very piece on multiple occasions and kept falling short: it felt like my brain simply could not hold the demands of the geometrical and mathematical aspects of the image alongside with the elements of mystery and flow that comes through the incorporation of hot/cool and wet/dry- all this, along with PATIENCE.
As I slowly removed the ironing paper and witnessed the revealing for the first time, I realized that countless hours of my devotion to each hand’s significance had dissolved into a sea of blue. The majority of depth and dimension that I had practiced for so long to create was lost.
But what felt so fulfilling for me was to realize that I was Ok with this. The painting was not a failure; it was simply a byproduct of my devotion to the process.
The process was my prayer, and the painting is forever imprinted on my heart.
I’m encouraged to keep trying.
Ancestral Study/7 Generations no. 28
Indigo dye, Frankincense, Rosewater, Beeswax on Arches
On view at AS220 115 Empire Street through September 25, 2021.
When the pandemic began, I started hearing Joseph Campbell’s phrase on repeat in my mind: “follow your bliss, and you’ll be met with the support of 1,000 unseen hands.”
For years I had been drawn to these types of quotes about pursuing what you love, but none of these offerings ever made it past the fear barricades in my cognitive mind. In other words, the concepts felt inspiring, but disembodied.
I realized I wouldn’t stop hearing this phrase unless I tested it out for myself. Could I truly follow my bliss and feel supported at the same time? What *was* my bliss, and what did it actually feel like in my nervous system to feel safe and supported?
These two questions became the compass and bearing for the journey ahead. I began a daily practice of establishing neurocircuitry of safety and support within my own body. Multiple times a day, I would pause and breathe and imagine the physical touch of hands offering support, and I practiced letting myself fully take in this feeling of love that I thought at the time was purely imaginal.
Eventually, it got to the point where I was imagining and sensing an entire field of supportive hands in 360 directions. I could move, leap, fall in any direction and still feel held. This practice offered a sense of liberation and freedom unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.
Months in, as an interest in ancestral connection began awakening in me, I was awestruck to realize that these 1,000 hands Campbell spoke of held a close correlation with Seven Generations.
I started being pointed towards epigenetics and ancestral healing in my meditation studies. I began learning more about indigenous cultures who held the interest of Seven Generations at the forefront of their decision making. I started being shown so many ways that these concepts could marry as visual meditations that were just as healing for me to create as they were to share with the world, and I came to know these intimate, synthesizing moments of creation as those of Bliss.
I never could have imagined how this path of inquiry would lead to such intimacy and awe.
Ancestral Study No 13/1,024 hands