THE MYSTERY OF CREATION IS THE DIVINE URGE OF CREATION, BUT IT IS A GREAT, STRANGE URGE, IT IS NOT A MIND. EVEN AN ARTIST KNOWS HIS WORK WAS NEVER IN HIS MIND, HE COULD NEVER HAVE THOUGHT IT BEFORE IT HAPPENED. A STRANGE ACHE POSSESSED HIM, AND HE ENTERED THE STRUGGLE, AND OUT OF THE STRUGGLE, WITH HIS MATERIAL, IN THE SPELL OF THE URGE, HIS WORK TOOK PLACE, IT STOOD UP AND SALUTED HIS MIND.
-D.H. LAWRENCE


THE HORIZON WITHIN
WORKS IN AN EXHIBITION
BY
ELIZABETH GILL LUI

The personal concerns that set me on the path of investigating nature as the subject matter in my work grew out of my observation that at the core of cultural and societal problems faced by the world today lies mankind's pervasive alienation from the natural world. My hope has been to create a body of imagery that would express the magnificent wonder of nature in a visual language that takes as its form a modern aesthetic. I worked from a starting point of using a geometric construct to assemble images of fragments of nature, that would hopefully create a bridge between the intellect, which for modern man is rationally and mathematically based, and the emotions, which is at its core the natural inner being and emotional essence of the person. I was inspired from sources as divergent as Tibetan mandalas which reflect Buddhism's insights into the structure of consciousness, Navajo ritual sand paintings, mathematical concepts like the golden mean, and the pure wonder of Nature's awe-inspiring creativity.

Nature became the content and the intellect the construct. As a visual philosopher with a desire to engage in the creation of a mythology for the new millennium, I have attempted to create a body of work that becomes a collection of symbolic icons that reference man's place in the greater order of the Universe. I hold the conviction that our culture has so effectively undermined the potency of traditional symbols, primarily through their appropriation by a materialistic consumer culture, that contemporary man is in desperate need of a transcendent language of symbols that collectively informs, empowers and unites the human race as it struggles to make sense of the complex new realities with which we are confronted. Through our limited senses we do not continually feel the profundity of being a part of the whole, or even of what it means to be human and alive, so it is with hopes of inspiring this awareness that the work included in THE HORIZON WITHIN has taken form.


A gratifying culmination in the creation of this work has come for me as an artist and philosopher who has been inspired primarily through aesthetic, moral, spiritual and cultural concerns, but who found at the end of this journey a recognized synchronicity with the scientific languages of chaos and fractals. The dialogue between the philosopher and the scientist, of such vital necessity as we try to reinvent ourselves for the coming century, has grown out of this creation. I feel humbled to have quite accidentally found myself at these crossroads, and can only hope that the dialogue will enrich the many who stand in wonder as they view, from their unique perspective, this visual expression of THE HORIZON WITHIN.

The title THE HORIZON WITHIN grew out of my imaginings about contemporary mankind's relationship, or lack thereof, with nature. The generally accepted interpretation of the word horizon as something in the distance, something unattainable, something we are separated from and can never reach, seemed to me to mirror the alienated state of our culture with respect to its lack of identity and unity with the natural world. It struck me as indicative of western industrialized culture that we do not see, as most indigenous site-specific peoples have, that the horizon is a circle, that I and my people are at its center, and that all the life contained therein is intrinsically united in an interdependent and intricate web of symbiosis. THE HORIZON WITHIN became for me a positing of opposites that imagines that the journey within ourselves is the journey that will return us to a harmonious relation with the natural and essential source of our being. I do not entertain the idea that we are capable of abandoning the machine, or the great accomplishments of our progress, to return to a romantic neo-primitivism with regard to nature and our way of living on the planet. This is as naive and unfeasible as it is undesirable. Yet this return to nature, achieved through the turning inward of the human to his own intuitive and creative center, is at the core of my personal philosophy. It is through this effort, and on this journey, that the connection can be forged that brings humanity back to itself, to one another, and to the greater unity of the life force that connects us all. This discovery of our inner selves stands for me as the moral imperative of our time, as well as the potentially enlightening next stage of human evolution.

Nature is everywhere, but we must go to it, for we are the ones responsible for having severed this vital relationship. Within each of us is the spiritual strength and empowerment that can arise from nurturing our inner voice, and I am convinced that this voice, when we engage it, will teach us of our unity with all life, and most importantly with one another. It is on this journey that we will meet our compassion, because the inner journey teaches intrinsically that we are one. It ignites in us the revelation that our survival hinges on honoring this oneness. And in its most ineffable of moments unites us through compassion with all of life's myriad creations, which most vitally of all, is our fellow man.

Elizabeth Gill Lui
Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy
April 1997

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