Every vision of the world implies some sort of philosophy.
My art is motivated by a spiritual force that compels a means of expression. It is the language by which I interpret the universal creative spirit as it becomes known to me. It is the means of expressing the passion for finding the truth that is me as I uncover the purposes, boundaries and directions of my mind.
Every painting is a new research project done in the unproved present creating symbols from experiences that express myself as I contact and am inspired by the world.
Unselfconsciously, I am exposing my inner life to others whose tastes and opinions are different but nevertheless are as valid as my own. To the extent that I am able to think and see with a difference, others will in turn be enriched by my art.
Leaving my comfort zone and calling on spirit facilitates improvisational healing spaces that appear in and beyond the surface of my paintings. That is where change happens and by way of form and color takes me to another dimension where words cannot. From that interior inspiration newly invented work surfaces making detached contemplation possible for the viewer or myself if I choose to revisit these thoughts at a later time.
Marilyn Biles offers us improvisational healing spaces. At every moment of our lives we live somewhere between past events that we carry in our memories and future events that we anticipate with our imaginations. The present moment is our open space. It is a moment in which we decide how we will respond to the past and our response then shapes who we will become in the future. It shapes our lives from then on. Whitehead puts it this way: "How an actual entity becomes constitutes what an actual entity is."
The past events to which we are responding are not simply objective situations that can be described in mathematical or verbal terms. They are also and more deeply the moods and feelings that we experienced as we responded to those situations. These moods are always beyond words. They have their rhythms and their colors, which means that we can sing them and paint them. Often the rhythms and colors go together, and we find ourselves hearing colors.
Music is what feelings sound like and colors are what feelings look like. At least this is how process philosophers see things. For them - for us -- the universe is itself a vast and evolving network of energetic happenings, each of which has a feeling tone which is its own response to its circumstances in the moment at hand. People have feelings, living cells have feelings, and even quantum events with the depths of an atom have feelings. There is something like subjectivity everywhere. Wherever there is energy, there is also feeling. Physically felt energy is physically felt feeling.
This means that when we paint or sing feelings, we are simultaneously expressing feelings that can be found throughout creation. Marilyn Biles puts it this way -- “It feels like I’m very much in touch with my inner being, that I’m working with myself and only for myself”, she explains. “I’m in touch with all creation." She is right. When we turn inward in meditation, we are not necessarily turning away from the rest of creation. Rather we are turning to experiences which we share with creation and which, if we choose, we can share back. Marilyn Biles paintings are her sharing back.
But before she shares there is an act of knowing and it is very much part of her creative process. The knowing is a feeling of the mood and a discernment of its colors and tonalities. Typically it is a mood from the past. The knowing is much deeper than sense-perception. It is a momentary withdrawing from sense-perception: a feeling of the feelings, a moment of empathy with the past.
And what is the purpose of this knowing? It is not simply nostalgia; it is more forward looking. It's purpose is healing. By healing I do not mean a curing of disease a healing toward wholeness, whatever the circumstances at hand. The wholeness at issue is never final or complete; there is always more to be known. But the wholeness entails a reconciliation of past and present, thus inviting the possibility of taking a next step in life.
What does the healing? Some might be tempted to say that the human healer does the healing, but Marilyn Biles doesn't see it quite this way. Nor do those of us in the process or Whiteheadian tradition. She feels the presence of a spirit -- a breathing within creation -- which is within her, too, and within the whole of creation, and which beckons her into her healing ministry: "My art is motivated by a spiritual force that compels a means of expression." She calls on spirit and spirit calls on her, too.
The very nature of this spirit is love. It is always moving and it knows no boundaries. It cannot be contained within frames in our minds or frames in a gallery, but the contents within those frames can indeed be vessels of its healing compassion. When we touch another person in a healing way, and they feel the energy of our own healing touch, the spirit works through our hands. When we pick up a brush and place colors on a canvas, the spirit also works through our hands. And when other people then behold what we have painted, bringing to it their own life histories, their own philosophies, their own views, the spirit is still again at work, beckoning them to respond to what is presented in their ways. The spirit is not a jealous god but rather a generous love.
Marilyn Biles paintings become lures for feeling, invitations for us to know the matters of the heart and mind which shape our own lives and which can help us take next steps in constructive directions for the sake of life's well-being. In the surfaces of her paintings and also beyond them there is an invitation to improvise our own lives and, as best we can, find the magic colors which are true to a life made whole. In the words of Terri St. Cloud: ""She could never go back and make some of the details pretty. All she could do was move forward and make the whole beautiful."
-- Jay McDaniel
Qualities of Heart and Mind in the Art of Marilyn Biles
Process philosophers use the word "spirituality" to name a constructive and caring way of living in this creative community of subjects. Here, then, is a list of some of the qualities of heart and mind that are essential to the embodied wisdom and emotional intelligence we appreciate. We borrow it from an organization called Spirituality and Practice and call it, with them, the spiritual alphabet: