Transcending Art

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I chose Alex Grey’s Net of Being, featured in his Progress of the Soul gallery, because it is featured in Tool’s 10,000 days album which really interested me. Alex Grey’s style of transcendental art is inspiring to me and I feel a connection to it because it is very spiritual and is created to make you look within yourself, to make a connection between mind body and spirit. I chose Net of Being because I love the colors in it and all of the detail and sharpness of the lines. I also like the fact that this piece is almost like and optical illusion because it pulls you in with it’s depth. I see and feel something new each time I look at it, even though it is a lot of repetition, it’s detail makes you ask a lot of questions and look closer every time. Most famous art pieces from the Renaissance are based around religion like The Last Supper or The Creation of Adam. Alex’s paintings are to spirituality and transcendentalism what these are to Christianity or Catholicism. They are the art depicting the newest forms of spirituality.

I was wondering how Alex came up with piece, what inspired him? After looking through a couple of interviews I found that many of his ideas come from hallucinogenic journeys he and his wife would take on ayahuasca, as explained in his book Net of Being, “[Alex Grey’s] painting Net of Being–inspired by a blazing vision of an infinite grid of Godheads during an ayahuasca journey–has reached millions as the cover and interior of the band TOOL’s Grammy award–winning triple-platinum album, 10,000 Days” (alexgrey.com). He also does a lot of anatomically accurate paintings which interests me because one of my favorite classes has been anatomy and physiology. After reading into his biography I found that “for five years, Alex worked in the Anatomy department at Harvard Medical School preparing cadavers for dissection” and from this experience he learned the human body in and out and turned it into his own form of art (alexgrey.com). Seeing art and science come together, to me, is one of the most beautiful things, it’s probably why I love his work so much. The final question I asked myself is what other artists influenced Alex’s “outsider style” of art? Within his biography I found that he worked as a studio assistant under Jay Jaroslav, a conceptual artist. This is where he picked up a lot of his technique and basis of human anatomy. Alex Grey’s art maps a connection between mind, body, and spirit and opens the door to new concepts and designs.

Click here for a full Gallery of his work.

  • How does this piece make you feel? Does it illicit a certain emotion? Why?
  • Does using mind enhancing substances alter the authenticity of art?
  • In what ways are art and science connected?

Katie Flynn