The “Rent Asunder” Series

All of the pieces in this series of three are titled “Rent Asunder/The Sacred Heart”, with the subtitles, “Veils of the Flesh”, “Veils of Sight”, and “Veils of the Mind.” This is a further iteration of my three-dimensional “metaphysical” metaphor based on the vessel form. These pieces are based on the historical fact that there have been notable people—saints, mendicants, sufis, and others on the margins—who do not proceed toward transcendence in a way that can be symbolized by flowing water. Instead, through the force of their love and personal commitment, they rend their way into the center, forcing an existential meeting with the Creator. “Veils of the Flesh” brings to mind figures such as St. Francis of Assisi, Hallaj, and Shams-e Tabrizi, fakirs, deniers of the flesh, who through their austerities gained access to the inner life. In conceptualizing “Veils of Sight” I had in mind someone like the artist Vincent Van Gogh. His later work, even though he more or less painted what he saw, has such surface tension that it always seemed to me as if the picture plane were about to rend apart, revealing a portal to an ineffable beyond. “Veils of the Mind” conjures up mystics like Ruzbihan Baqli, who refers in his diary to “the bridal veils of intimacy.” When reading about Ruzbihan and others like Ramakrishna, one gets a sense of peeling away layers upon layers of mental veils in preparation for union with the Divine. The second half of the title, “The Sacred Heart” refers to the popular paintings of Christ pulling apart his clothing to reveal his heart, a visual metaphor of the divine love and purity at his core. You can see larger images of these pieces in the gallery.