The Many Faces of Eve

"God Do You Hear Me Now?" Aprill Mansilla, USA, 2011

“God Do You Hear Me Now?” April Mansilla, USA, 2011

 

“What was it like for me to paint these? It was difficult... I am manic depressive and suffer major hospitalized bouts of depression. During the time I made these, I was still at home and just wanted people to understand what I felt…

"My Last Hope" April Mansilla

“My Last Hope” April Mansilla

…that even though I could smile, carry on a conversation, I was turning to pulp inside. I wanted people to feel what it’s like to be at the place of desperation–of wanting to take your life and not succeeding.

April Mansilla

April Mansilla, USA 2011


I guess what it all boils down to is…
I just wanted to be heard.

I am a pretty mild mannered, soft person and I don’t speak much, so that was my voice.

I received letters from people telling me how hard it has been trying to explain what it’s like for them to others …but when they show their families my work, now they get it…Hearing this made me feel that I had done something right.

Of course I also  got negative comments: people telling me, ‘If you feel this way, go kill yourself already!’ But such is life and there will always be those who are going to respond that way.

I felt at first this overwhelming guilt for painting these; but the more and more positive comments I got, the more I realized I had done something to help others–to not to feel so alone. That is why I call these ‘Portraits of Hope;’ because I survived and I hope that others would too.”

~April Mansilla, USA

"Purification," Karine Burckel, Paris, France 2011

“Purification,” Karine Burckel, Paris, France 2011

“Women who do not hide in their work, but expose their own all-too-human nature, I find amazing.

For myself, I use my work not only as a voice for those without voice, but also as a hiding place. Even as I am being frank and direct, I am hiding. My most personal poems are a mirror to the world; it is only with that feeling, as I am composing my thoughts,    that I can write those poems in which I am so exposed.”

~Carolyn Srygley-Moore, USA

Claudia Schonfeld, poet, Germany

Claudia Schoenfeld, poet, Germany

poets

hunting words to fit a viscous,
fragile mood – fragmented sky and
messy clouds, we’re tastin’

ink, touch my skin – tornado,
cobweb or a twinkling eye, the
artist’s brush, wet oil, alone – we
fly, dark dancer on an empty

stage, crave, make ‘em love us, no
regret, so tear my flesh, press heavy
on my soul and move
inside the turbine of my breath

these verse will win us, tear
our seam and spark; ejaculate
into our heart, splash torrents, lust-
washed cries, we scream the words
that toss and flood our aisles –
whitewater – clingin’, squirmin’ – short

of breath we close this bleeding gap
of unreached stars
to shattered small print
amongst rumpled sheets

~Claudia Schönfeld, Germany

Kaysheri Rappaport, Nia Black Belt, age 78

Kaysheri Rappaport, Nia Black Belt & Instructor, age 78, USA

“I’ve done things that took a lot of courage, I think, or craziness–I’m not sure which.
If I wanted to study something and I couldn’t find a teacher who taught it, I’d teach it myself. I wrote the kinds of plays I’d want to be in, with the characters I’d want to play.

We all have the capacity to be creative. We can think, and we can imagine. Creativity is about the process, not the product.

At this point in my life, I don’t care that much anymore what people think of me.”

~Kaycheri Rappaport, Nia Black Belt teacher and yoga instructor, actress and writer, age 78, Oregon, USA

Magaly Ohika, acrylic on 100% rag stonehenge paper measures -16x22

“A Little Bird Told Me About Love,” Magaly Ohika,                San Juan, Puerto Rico

Look deeply into the faces and artwork gathered here: dancer, poets, photographers, painters –visionaries all–and witness what happens when a woman, even a young girl, experiences herself as someone with something to offer this world. More than a feeling of independence–although that’s certainly an important part of it–this vibrates much, much deeper…

I don’t need to wait for a boy to notice me anymore!” Faith, my seven-year-old daughter was clearly still glowing from the success of the school newspaper she’d spearheaded that morning. The best part for her: collaborating with the posse of young reporters she’d corralled (one boy, a poet, she suspected had joined for reasons perhaps a bit  more romantic).

Judith Clay, Germany, 2011

Judith Clay, Germany, 2011

Slipping on her pj’s, my daughter continued:
Last year I was always liking one boy or another; but you know, if someone doesn’t come up and talk to you, it might just be because you’re not the right fit for each other.” My daughter squeezed out the toothpaste, looked up and made a face in the mirror. “I know who I am and I’m not ready to have a boy in my life right now. I’m just a little girl. Maybe I don’t even want to be with a boy when I’m grown up. For now, anyway, I’m just going to like someone as a friend.”

Judith Clay, ink pastel colored pencil collage

Judith Clay, ink pastel colored pencil collage

Such a declaration at the age of seven is enough to make a tired mother grin, but not all of it for the naive sweetness of her ideas. What my daughter was articulating that night reflects a growing sentiment expressed in the work of females around her: We don’t have to check ourselves to make sure we’re desirable to The Other. Who we truly are, audience or not, is really quite interesting…even when we don’t resemble the idealized images of females one still finds rampant in my daughter’s ever-popular princess tales.

Norway artist, Daria Endresen.

It is strangely empowering to know you have the ability to communicate visually. I’d never experienced this before. But it also made me feel more vulnerable. When you use yourself as subject matter, this is inevitable, I think.

Each of my images is very personal and deeply connected with events in my life. I could say that my life is my main source of inspiration, and also a sort of therapy. When I feel I have something to say, I pick up my camera and start shooting.

Opening up was never easy. I remember experiencing an overwhelming feeling of fear the first time I published a nude self-portrait. However, the outer nakedness is something I stopped caring about rather quickly; showing everyone what’s inside of me is much more difficult. It leaves you bare and visible to anyone. At the same time I would like my viewers to perceive these stories as their own, to see and recognize themselves.

"Bound," Self=portrait, Daria Andresen, Norway

“Bound,” Self=portrait, Daria Andresen, Norway

In Norway there is a strong cult of high self-esteem. Kids are taught to love themselves from a very young age, and in my opinion it’s a good thing. On the other hand, the massive usage of photoshopped glamor pictures and general propaganda of “plastic” beauty pushes us to constantly compare. Everyone needs to know that they are loved and they are good enough, no matter what. And my message for all the girls out there would be this: Dream, believe in yourself and never give up.

"Fragile," Daria Andresen

“Fragile,” Daria Andresen

Daria Andresen, self-portrait

Daria Andresen, self-portrait

Vulnerability and strength are the two most important things that I would like to be able to express.

Some people see my work as overly dark and depressing; but if you take time to look closer, there is always hope and that special inner strength that I believe each of us has.

Daria Andresen, self-portrait

Daria Andresen, self-portrait, Norway


Women and especially young girls are most receptive to my images, because in most cases, I ‘talk’ about love. Men tend to be less sentimental and sensitive. The nude aspect for men probably plays a more significant role. But those who are interested in looking deeper, manage to get past the nudity, which is never the point in my images.

My ideas take time to grow. Sometimes it takes months to have them clear in my head; but if I am in some kind of emotional turmoil, I can work very fast as well.”

New York painter, April Mansilla:

“I think people need to see real women and real emotion; not just pretty skin.

I just battled two years of deep depression; the last six months I spent inside a psychiatric hospital. I’ve been out for a month-and-a-half now and haven’t yet been able to paint my portrait. Maybe the more I heal, I will.
But for now, this is my new project: to capture in a hopeful way these fighting spirits.

"Prayers in Ink," April Mansilla, July 2011

“Prayers in Ink,” April Mansilla, July 2011

I am so close to my daughter, Alix Maria. She has saved my life.

I had her when I was 18. At 19, I tried to take my life as I didn’t want her growing up with a ‘crazy’ mother. I thought I was being unselfish; but I am happy I survived because I am a great mother, if nothing else. Since then I have fought so hard to keep my balance because of her. She was my first born and an old soul. The day she was born she could hold her head up and look around. Her first world was hello. She grew fast and smart. When I was in the hospital, she took over as mom to her brother. When I would want to sleep all day from depression, she is the reason I woke up. It saved me looking after another I loved so much.”

"Brand," (psychiatric number), oil pastel 19x24", April Mansilla, self-portrait, 2011

“Brand,” (psychiatric number), oil pastel 19×24″,                April Mansilla, self-portrait, 2011

Flailing

by Carolyn Srgfley-Moore September 2011

I have done wrong: true.
I have done wrong.         Back when I was flailing
through bloodlets of beveled fog

she said “you must have done
many bad things in your life.”         Such is the premise
of guilt        & of redemption.

I will hold my hands into the light.
I will hold my hands into the light.
You cannot take the warmth away          from me.

My skin is an emergency roadside flare.
You can see the wreckage.
The iron is the twist of flowers & blood & scarlet leaves
just newly fallen.

Poet Claudia Schönfeld, Germany:

“I write to connect with myself, to capture the joy, pain, emotions, the moment. I have no big goals for my writing other than touching the reader – just for a moment – maybe just with one line, and invite them to look at things from a different perspective, maybe have them breathe a bit faster, smile a bit deeper… If I manage to accomplish this, it makes my day.

Daria Andresen, self-portrait

Daria Andresen, self-portrait

The greatest gift I handed my children was probably teaching them to look at things from different angles. This is what poets tend to do; and I think I was doing this all my life without really realizing.

My childhood was a time of fights and struggles. My father drank and I tried to survive somehow…first by creating a world of dreams where I felt safe, then by fighting hard to manage life and hoping to be able to escape the poverty and desperation.  Later, it was by rebelling and totally losing grip as a teenager.

As a child I spent hours in our local library and it was a place of treasures, wonder and adventure. I loved to read Erich Kästner and Enid Blyton. Also Hitchcock’s three investigators. Made me want to live in a trailer on a junkyard. I also read all the fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm, and J.R.R. Tolkien when I got older. I read no poetry though, except for at school.

Now there are many poets I love to read:. Rainer Maria Rilke, Charles Bukowski, Langston Hughes, Ted Kooser, Sylvia Plath. My all-time favorite villanelle is Dylan Thomas’ ‘Do not go gentle into that good night.’ But if I’m on a business trip for and have only very limited time to read poetry, I mostly have Bukowski in my luggage and if I get a chance to go online and there’s just time for one poem, I’m usually heading towards waystation one. (http://www.waystationone.com/)

I almost never sit down to write. Most of my poems are born in hotel lobbies, on train rides, mountain tops, lakeside promenades, airports, walks in the woods or traffic jams. They escape like bubbles from somewhere within and I try to catch and type them into my iPhone.”

"When I fall, you are there to catch me," oil pastel and ink, April Mansilla

“When I fall, you are there to catch me,” oil pastel and ink, April Mansilla

Kaycheri Rappaport, Nia dancer, teacher, actress, artist, writer, USA:

“My mother was an artist.  She died from cancer at twenty-seven when I was seven. Because she was so sick for such a long time, I didn’t live with her very much at all. Instead, I was shuttled around, many of them strangers to me. By the time I was six-and-a-half, I was extremely independent because I had to know how to do for myself.

In one way, I always had the perfect mother because she was in heaven! Whenever I felt misunderstood by my aunt and uncle who eventually raised me, it was bearable that they had no idea who I was [inside] because my mommy in heaven did. I actually would write letters to her. And then I would write answers from her back. A lot of my answers were reassurance. I was very insecure.

"Free as a Bird (I Want to Be)," Rasa Valiene. oil on canvas

“Free as a Bird (I Want to Be),” Rasa Valiene. oil on canvas

I was a little skinny, Jewish kid living in the mainline of Philadelphia in a  wealthy whitebread neighborhood. I was not invited to the sororities..
But I used to put on music in my beautiful, spacious room, and dance and dance and draw for hours . There I lived the life of an artist.

My first love was theatre.  When I graduated from high school, I announced I was going to New York. But my aunt and uncle sat me down and said, “don’t even think abut it!” They said, “You have to go to college and get a degree. Anything in the arts is a hobby.” They told me only loose girls became actresses. I remember once bringing home  a painting I’d done in school. They glanced at it, then looked at me. “How much to do think you could get for that?”

So I went to college. I double-majored in English and Fine Arts, with a minor in psychology, from Temple University. Oh, it was marvelous! At Tyler Art School we studied art in the most classical way.
And with my own children, I love them dearly in all ways and always gave them a great deal of support. My greatest gift to them was to recognize who they are, for we are all miracle and love, with fantastic possibilities.

I named my daughter, ‘Helen,’ after my mother, who was very important to me.

You know in the Nia and yoga classes I teach, I always first give them a questionnaire to fill out. My first question is, “Who is the most fascinating person you know?” It’s a trick question, I tell them. The answer is…Yourself!”

*               *               *

Further notes:

April Mansilla, of the USA, is married and has two children.

Her paintings can be viewed on her website: http://www.aprilmansilla.com

Karine Burckel lives in Paris, France, and works as an actress at the Compagnie Act’O théâtre.
She also runs K.rine Burckel photographie.

Her websites: http://www.behance.net/KBurckel/frame

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Compagnie

Carolyn Srygley-Moore, New York, USA, a pushcart and best of the web nominee, cares for persons with traumatic brain injuries at All Metro Health Care.

To read a full interview with Carolyn: https://combustus.wordpress.com/2011/08/19/new-york-usa-carolyn-srygley-moore-poet/

Claudia Schoenfeld lives in Germany with her husband and three children, age 17, 19 and 20, and is co-founder of dVerse Poets Pub: (http://dversepoets.com/)
Claudia’s website: http://jaywalkingthemoon.wordpress.com/

Kaycheri Rappaport, USA, an actress, writer and Nia Black belt instructor also teaches yoga and her own,
“The Gentle Ways to Fitness,” through classes and DVDs.

To find where and when: http://www.thegentlewaytofitness.blogspot.com

Magaly Ohika, San Juan, Puerto Rico, is an artist and toy designer. (Look for a profile on Magaly here in Combustus in coming weeks

http://www.theitsybitsyspill.blogspot.com

http://www.theitsybitsyspill.blogspot.com
http://www.oodlestitchandfold.etsy.com

Judith Clay, Germany will also be featured here in Combustus in the near future.
You may also enjoy her pictures at: http://www.artflakes.com/de/shop/judith
http://judithclay.society6.com/store
http://www.bluecanvas.com/judithclay
http://www.seenby.de/judith-clay
http://www.whitewall.com/judithclay

http://www.filu-archiv.de/Judith_Clay

Judith won the 2009 nomination for her picture book projects, “Always” and “The Meefisch.”
2009 Group exhibition, “The Meefisch,” Franck-house, Marktheidenfeld
2010 picture book project on “Thea’s Tree.”

Daria Endresen, a digital artist based in Oslo, Norway, says of herself:
“I’m a dead fish in a cyanide sea.
I like boys who look like girls and girls who look like aliens.”
Daria’s images can be enjoyed at: http://www.dariaendresen.com/

Daria Andresen

Daria Andresen, Norway 2011

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56 comments on “The Many Faces of Eve

  1. A very enlightening adventure through what it means to be a woman and an artist. I always feel more fulfilled as a man when I gain those small insights of the feminine side of life. It is true to be complete as humans we need both the mascaline and feminine perspective in our lives.

  2. Deanna, i’m just blown away..really…what an excellent article and what fantastic people! i’m honored that you included me in this fine bouquet women…
    first of all, i had tears in my eyes when looking at April’s painting…i could feel her pain and what probably no words could tell the world, this painting for sure does. April – this is just awesome.
    Daria – also loved your self-portrait…vulnerability and strength…something i want to capture with my writing as well..
    also loved Judith Clay’s pics…woohoo..a german artist…smiles..looking forward to her feature,
    Kaycheri – you encouraged me with what you said..we need women like you!!
    Carolyn your poem touched me.. i could go on for hours..and sure be back to read again….
    “Women who do not hide in their work, but expose their own all-too-human nature, I find amazing….yes – so true…thanks to all of you for not hiding and thanks to Deanna for putting this together…awesome, awesome job Deanna!!

  3. Pingback: cause i still trust | jaywalking the moon

  4. Very powerful works. I have a friend with bipolar disorder, and others with mental illness, and it is good to see April Masilla’s expression of her state. The power of art to help one understand, if only partially, the conditions of the life of a fellow human being is what makes it dangerous in the eyes of totalitarians of all kinds.

  5. Excellent Work, Deanna.
    I also am a complicated bipolar (the actual diagnosis I am not comfortable sharing publicly). I wonder about the parallels between mental illness and art.
    I spent three years institutionalized. have been out of the wards & functional for sixteen years now.
    The artwork here is stunning.
    Thank you for including me. The article is frank, as is the art,
    carolyn

      • Deanna, I agree. While not immune from fleshly pleasures, my fondest and most intimate connection with the wonders of a woman was for about two hours. Neither one of us was naked in the physical way, with all walls down, our souls were won. We did not speak, so gratefully, we only listened !

      • ” It starts with touch …. ” ( Further to my posting November 19, 2011 at 1:33 P.M )

        Deanna, your use of the word ” touch,” is perhaps the most magical key which has fostered understanding eons before the Rossetta Stone was only first found in 1799. Touch, touching, being touched, yearning for, avoiding of, and, in the mind of many, most regrettably, untouched.

        Following up with my thoughts expressed November 19, That amazing experience could indeed be classified under ” Touch. ” The time line is not relevant in that what that lady
        ‘n’ I experienced can only be timeless in that others before and after have been and will be in similar bliss.

        An Afternoon visit to a kindred spirit within a recently met friend, some of this, some of that, fixing this, burning that. Suppertime was soon devoured, my work injury discovered where my memory was, missing bones along with me having a screw loose allowed me to ask of this lady if she cared to lay on her bed with me.

        The lady was aware of my metaphor of having a screw lose , somehow, my randomness had her laughing, rather a lot. She had also seen my X-rays which indeed illustrated 3 screws which had somehow loosened from the 2 metal plates which were anchored to my lumbar spine.

        Upon that bed we two did lay, touching, of course, as my chest delighted in the pleasure of having her head and face upon my chest. We communicated, via touch, issues of emotions across the boundless expanse of human awareness. Everything is beautiful, until, my back, in spasm. Oh yes, that too was a touch, given the essence of children present, I remain extremely less descriptive.

        The feminine touch of the lady, well, I surrendered that rapidly increasing pain to her instincts of motherhood. Back to back, her bum became the buffer which warmly slowed down the spasms which were actually winding down only to soon bonce back with enough energy to toss her, bum ‘n’ all two feet over and then right off of her bed !

        With pun fully intended, that lady came back ! Prescribed medication did nothing, the one remaining functional cell in my brain became absolutely aware that those spasms, while real, were also facilitating the letting go of almost every thing which had ever pained me within the confines of my first memory of pain up until that very moment. No, it was not pretty in any way at all, then again, I never was all that pretty to begin with 🙂

        ” Stop right there !, ” oh yes, internally, those words touched me, my conscience I guess, told my spirit to quit wallowing, my self pity was also manifesting pain within the lady.

        I can not find words which describe the transition which right then followed, nor do I need or seek to know how ever so magically, I, the touched, became I, the touch of unconditional love to and for this lady. It just was there, the manifestation of all her pain, she somehow passed her lifetime of pains to, sorry, through me. Like in a child’s book, each pain, fully illustrated in fullest of colors and hues thereof, became part and full parcel of my heart, the part where unconditional love for all good people has long lived.

        With open arms, soul, heart and spirit, over the next 90 minutes or so, the lady, finally, with neither fear nor remiss, let all her pain increasingly spiral out of her control, indeed she surrendered the the inner-space flight controls to me, via her touch, while doing so, her touch, now feeling much less spasm, let me know that she had absolute trust in my unconditional touch of safely landing upon the softest of ground her serenity which for both
        of us, began as indescribable pain, not yet released.

        Fear in and off itself is palpable, we all feel the brutal touch of pain. As long as we continue to pay attention only to the touch of that pain, each of our lives can only be made valid while pain is omnipresent. However, l, and no doubt many others found my way out from pain, via allowing the purest of love to flow over and around the pains of others, suffocating that pain with unending amounts of unconditional love.

        Words, oh yes, they touch too, though never have I been able to absolutely stop all my pain by words spoken !

        The power of the soft silken touch of unconditional love at its absolute best, leaves others and myself, wonderfully speechless. Self love truly begins with giving of love to others, unconditionally, it comes back tenfold to empower each of us with ten times more unconditional love to give as love or as the manifestation of pain ceased, a life of love borne again in replacement of aches, angers and all angst of all yesterdays 🙂

        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

        In the wisdom of knowing one must remain a student to occasionally offer lessons of one’s own, I am of little value to anyone if I seek not the touch of other’s comments, experiences and manifestations of love as the most pure and absolutely unconditional priceless gift which
        I find touches me ever so magically when first I offer love without expectations of return.

        To each ‘n’ Y’all, take with you my universe of love’s touch, reach out with the universality of Human Touch 🙂 🙂

        Deanna Elaine Piowaty, thank you ever so much for yanking my chain with your touch of wisdom, you pulled me to this starting point, thank you, I do believe you have also installed my start button ! Love to you, Love to yours 🙂

  6. The manifest reality of a woman’s life, the blood and the sagging breasts, does not appeal to me. The crazed notion that Eve is a fantasy object dripping into my heart the balmy essence of otherness, who is alternately the elevated and subjugated one, the divine Feminine and the deep-ditch whore, is a fiction or parallel reality I earnestly cultivate. The many faces or desires of Eve draw Adam into her; it is a woman’s lot to suffer her body to be both virginal and unchaste.

      • I believe we are speaking not only of the reality, but the fictive grace, of Eve.
        If you read or looked at any of our work up close, you know
        it is divined of imagination.
        Campbell said God has how many faces.
        How many faces of Adam, then. How many faces of Eve.
        & where did the garden occur
        with its incipient betrayals? All occurs in a realm of imagination.
        If sagging breasts be an image that transits that realm, sobeit.
        thanks, carolyn

    • With greatest respect, Clay, you speak of this” fiction or parallel reality I earnestly cultivate. ”
      Per chance, that which you earnestly cultivate, you must then also harvest which becomes perhaps your truth? What I see clearly missing is the initial part of this trilogy; Where did those seeds originate from, from one with pure love, from one of only absolute control ?

      It is my belief, yes, as a male, that the attributes of the “Double Standard” are nothing less than a fear based attempt to keep women subdued to the level of mere chattels !

      Instead of embracing the amazing wonders of and within feminine peaks, the vast majority of us men are first taught that Eve was created to aid, in all Adam’s needs. Adam, upon reflecting of my own evolution, I believe this fictitious Adam would have known delights and wisdom beyond heaven had he only surrendered his ego to the indescribable capacities of this fictitious Eve !

      I am humbly grateful to be a willing student, seeking more knowledge of the mind numbing beauty within the feminine beast once freed.

      Thank you,

      Dennis

  7. I am honored to be among all these women who tell the truth in language and art ….the truth isn’t always pretty but beautiful….because after it is revealed it is when one can heal… …thank you again for letting me be a part of this Deanna

    • Oh, April, yes! The not-revealing means that these “secrets” must be absorbed by the body. How can self-hatred, sickness, death…not result? As a breast cancer survivor and one who lost my outwardly perfect mother to the same, I say this from a place of love. To all you brave, beautifully honest beings: I raise my glass and send kisses on the wind!

  8. In the words of Albert Einstein, “Reality is merely an illusion, although a very persistent one”.
    Other illusions, fictions or parallel realities beckon us all. We need not limit ourselves to just one.

  9. I am fascinated but confused by Clay Childe’s comment. The physical reality of femininity is rejected as if profane, yet it is a “woman’s lot” to be polarized and objectified? My hope would be that there might be a third way, or even many different, genuine ways to express one’s self as a woman. There is definitely room for further discussion.

      • Well, I can only offer this, Deanna, ” ……. diverse ! And complex. ”

        Never would I seek to diminish in any way, the manly powers of men, of which I am one.
        However, I as a Human, am grateful beyond mere words or touch for access to the vast multifaceted pearls and diamonds reflective of the priceless cache of knowledge and wisdom so long suppressed within women, oppressed knowledge and wisdom within women.

        The magic of that feminine wisdom, even suppressed and or oppressed, remains sadly an untapped resource which has never been higher in demand, nor never been higher in need !

        The innate nature of men is to hunt or gather, always, that hunting and or gathering leaving behind a wake of destruction !

        Since the beginning of at least my time, women have cried out to be listened to, long overdue, it’s time we truly listened to the source of Motherhood, and, yes, Apple pie along with the timeless and boundless creativity of those who first observe, then solve problems.

  10. nice – love the discussion here…looking at things from different angles…this is right up my alley…for me…being human means both, there’s this physical reality and i much love that there is a physical reality – if this is sex, breast-feeding babies or digging in the soil…but there’s also the non-physical part, the thinking, dreaming, reaching for new destinations just by the power of our mind and art…and for me this is the most powerful combo i can think of..

  11. Jillian, the ‘physical reality of femininity’ is a contradiction in terms. Femininity is cultivated; it expresses the nature of a woman’s soul. The physicality of the body is subject to mortality, whereas femininity with its ethereal, graceful quality is not. A feminine woman is beautiful whatever her age. Femininity is vulnerability, yet it can bring a man to his knees. The hope for a wretched man is woman; the Holy Grail for a noble man is woman:

    “I am the first and the last.
    I am the honoured and the scorned one.
    I am the whore and the holy one.”
    Gnostic Gospels

    A woman cannot escape her femaleness: her body always catches up with her head and reminds her of who, and what, she is. From girlhood, from her first period, she is body-centric. Self-loathing is a loathing for the body, and as an object of desire it is a desire for the body. This is the illusory nature of woman, mind and body in eternal conflict.

    Perhaps the sisterhood rejects the lone fox that found its way into the hen-house. Perhaps my previous comment was “incendiary” because it is not politically correct. Perhaps Deanna Elaine Piowaty’s blocking me on Facebook because of it yet still perfectly happy to allow the comment to be shown was not displaying the many faces of Eve, but two.

    Annoyance and pettiness have left me. Your circle of love remains unbroken. I take my leave.

  12. Dear Clay,

    I truly appreciate your thoughtful reply. In my understanding of who a human being is, each soul responds to the world, and what is greater than itself, beyond itself, sooner or later, in a feminine way, whether the person is male or female. Women hold a special role in that they bring life from one generation to the next, but not every woman is a mother or a wife or a harlot.

    You said, “A woman cannot escape her femaleness: her body always catches up with her head and reminds her of who, and what, she is.” I agree with this statement. It has been a long road for me to hoe, but I recognize what you are saying, here. With time, though, my mind & body are less in conflict than they were. But I think that so many variables exist, it is impossible for me, personally, to make a general statement about half of the world’s population. Thank you for continuing the discussion.

  13. “Not just pretty skin” – Reflections on Mansilla
    A.S. Meroe, 26 September 2011

    The revelation of psychic suffering through Mansilla’s paintings and narrative transfigures her history into redemptive and transcendent testaments. Mansilla challenges God – and us – to witness. Her portraits of anguish, wounding, and prayer trample upon the anemic discourses of cognitive processing and neurotransmitters that dominate Western constructs of mental illness. Mansilla speaks of a suicide attempt as driven by an impulse to spare her daughter from an imagined future burden of living with a mother in psychological distress. There are many who attempt suicide or succeed at ending their lives for the very same reasons. It can be a cruel inversion of such intents when others claim that these are acts of cowardice and selfishness. The accusers are people who cannot or will not comprehend such a desire or act as the desperate intertwining of mercy for self and others. And typically, these people lack the capacity for effective response. (We cannot help you, but, how dare you remind us with your despair?)

    In particular, the portrait, “God, do you hear me now?” confronts us with the lush sacrificial presence of self-inflicted stigmata. The blood on each wrist is as stark as any Catholic crucifix. Nevertheless, the gaze, the sharp outlines, the bruise tones are more compelling than the aching, stinging, torn flesh reconstituting itself beneath the bandages. Each painting included in this collection, transmutes individual, concealed suffering beyond psychiatric diagnoses and into ethereal portraits of being. Being-in-anguish. Being-in-yearning. The furrowed brow in “My Last Hope” communicates an existential defiance that is the making of legendary saints and everyday survivors. Mansilla’s description of her mutually nurturing relationship with her daughter is also mirrored in what she offers to those of us who have endured similar tortures and manage to carry on.

    No, the skin of Masilla’s figures is not pretty. It is alarming and extraordinary. It radiates with energies and hues that many have forgotten how to perceive. It arouses memories for those who have learned to breathe beauty and significance when air alone is not adequate reward for the burdens of living.

  14. Deanna Elaine Piowaty, I was three weeks late, I am ever so grateful to be a part, more importantly, just to have access to the collective wisdom upon which I have only so far glanced !!

    I love this genre of reality, what a fool I would be if I only stayed within the ego of me 🙂

    I am seeking any comments which may support my view that I see so many being held back from being all they are meant to be by only being parishioners of organised religions.

    I lay claim to no extra powers, I merely refuse to keep my thoughts of human love inside of me, letting love out is such an incredibly important step towards growing forward in our time 🙂 ❤

    Thank you in immeasurable ways !

      • Truly amazing… the scope and breadth of comments. As you and I have spoken before on, we are not cookie cutter replications of the human experience. The paths of perspective and experiences repeatedly join and blend, then diverge, breaking away to give each of us our own unique perspective. Further down our individual paths we may rejoin (for lack of a better description) the common path, with a viewpoint that is changed by the subtle hues of the unique combination that is our individual life experience.

        I love what you do here… for art, for the artists themselves,
        and for me as a reader

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