A Ruby and a Single Nail…

Apricity Gallery showcases artists, Majio, Rachel Van Dessel, and Lorrie Bogner in:

Adventures in the LIMINAL, Transformational Painting.

Very recently I had one of those dreams, the kind that supplies no contextual hook to bring it back into the waking world. It felt significant to my recent paintings, but I was left with only the feeble trace of the experience. In the dream, I was pulling a gold metallic substance, oddly similar to a soil tiller, over a canvas-like surface.

When writing down these fragments I got that AHA body-hit that the gold substance was liminal space. Then came the realization which connected, not only the title of the show at Apricity Gallery in June, A Ruby and a Single Nail…, but also the image I chose for the postcard from a Japanese Noh drama, Komachi no Sotoba. I realized through the dream that poem and the gold paintings were connected through the experience of the LIMINAL.

Liminal is a word that is being used more frequently these days. I first came across it when trying to translate the word, tsuki ma, from Japanese into English, which means the space between things. Liminal, from the Latin limen, means threshold or the place between here and there. It is the marker where one place or state ends and another one begins.

The liminal is the archetypal state of transition, a conduit between conditions or circumstances,
between worlds. People usually pass through the liminal in times of transition and/or initiation. There are, however, fragments of marginalized populations who live in the liminal, as the homeless, insane, exiled, criminal, handicapped, adolescents, visionaries and often artists.

The word threshold referred originally to the place where grain was threshed or beaten in order to release its essence, its life. True ritual uses the concept of threshold to mark the stripping away of old identity, in order to make way for the new. Threshold, in relation to the liminal, is also the place where stimulus produces a response, as in a pain threshold. Sometimes it takes spending time in no-man’s-land for the new ground to be realized.

The screen painting of Komachi no Sotoba is the story of a 9th century courtesan of stunning beauty; a renown poet who lives her old age in homeless poverty and madness on the edge of Kyoto, Japan. Komachi, sitting on a fallen Buddhist stupa raises the ire of passing Buddhist monks on their way to the capitol. They admonish her for her disrespect. As they enter into a dialogue quoting Buddhist sutras and Zen poets. It becomes clear to them that they have the trappings of the liminal, but she lives it. They end by bowing to her, realizing her understanding of The Way far exceeds their own.

Transformational Painting is designed at STUDIO ANAVAMI to cultivate the liminal, to paint there, and to be irrevocably changed by the experience.


My experience of Transformational Painting is primarily in the realm of being rather than cognition and the naming of things. It calls forth intuition. It cultivates spontaneous presence. The seer and the seen become interchangeable within the conscious participation in the moment of creation. In allowing rather than manipulating, I have an opportunity to realize what is arising as inseparable within the experience itself. My mind is no longer grasping, rather it is receiving the images as they arise from realms which open themselves to this experience. Being one with this felt sense of painting allows the images and their meanings to reveal themselves.

Opening to the raw immediacy of this direct experience with conscious intention, the many facets, realms, and levels of this moment become more open, more accessible. There is a feeling that the dynamic flow itself is conjuring the paint, color, form, and texture to arrange itself into a image which seems to magically arise before our very eyes.

-Rachel Van Dessel

Transformational Painting for me is a journey with no destination. It is a discovery of self on many levels with my soul peeking out and speaking through the creative painting process.

Painting is a tool for me to find balance in my life. I observe my painting and look for that balance. By balance I mean staying on an even keel, centered no matter what outside events happen….order or chaos….beauty or ugliness.
If I choose tenderness for myself and others it will extend outward like ripples in the water from a tossed stone. My heart will hear the sacred sounds of all life and I will paint it.

-Lorrie Bogner


This show will open on First Friday, June 5th from 6-10pm and run throughout the month.  Apricity Gallery will also be open for the Ebb and Flow Festival on June 6th 1-5pm and for the Tanniversary on June 20th from 3-10pm.