Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Circle Symbols and Iconography

The Marbles had me thinking about my connection to circles and spheres so I decided to share a little about the meaning and intentionality of the circle symbols and iconography in my work. The circle is the most common and universal signs, found in all cultures. The circle has a fascinating history of feminine symbolism and you may have noticed that it is predominately featured in many of my paintings.

A recent example would be the full moon featured in my Night Garden painting series.

Some additional examples of the circle or spheres used in my paintings are shown in some earlier work below:

Amy E. Fraser

Amy E. Fraser

Amy E. Fraser

You can see where I used the circle (or disk) as the primary compositional structure in these three pieces. (This disk like structure first appeared in my painting with creation of the
Four Elements)

“The circle is perhaps the purest, most profound and the most common symbol in existence. With the probably infinite billions of stars, planets, moons and galaxies full of the same, the circle is well represented in the physical universe in the form of spheres. A circle, having no beginning or end, represents infinity, eternity, wholeness and femininity. Other meaningfully significant symbols or objects are circular: Stonehenge, Ouroboros, the Wheel of Life, a halo around the head of a saint, etc.”

The Circle is “An ancient and universal symbol of unity, wholeness, infinity, the goddess, and female power. To earth-centered religions throughout history as well as to many contemporary pagans, it represents the feminine spirit or force, the cosmos or a spiritualized Mother Earth, and a sacred space. Gnostic traditions linked the unbroken circle to the "world serpent" forming a circle as it eats its own tail.” The Spiral (also featured prominently in my work) is an extension of the circle. The Spiral is: “Ancient symbol of the goddess, the womb, fertility, feminine serpent force, continual change, and the evolution of the universe.”

In Dissecting the Western Woman Artist: An Artist Dialog, Chapter 10 Menstrual Blood, A Woman’s Ancient Magic I wrote this about the circle symbol: “It is believed that these symbols that transcend meaning or a precise definition are part of the residue of our 'collective unconscious'. When these images appear in art, poetry, fiction, or mythology, critics are reluctant to associate them with that most fundamental of female attributes, the menstrual cycle.”

Bet you didn’t think a couple of marbles would lead to so much philosophizing?
Come back tomorrow and I will show you what I did with my very meaningful glass spheres.

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