Past Exhibit

“Oogenesis” by Joan Marie

Universal Love: Embracing The Divine In All

September 24, 2010 - January 2, 2011

Universal Love: Embracing The Divine In All Art Show Opens September 24, Art Exhibit Brings Different Faiths Together, Connects Audiences With Universal Love.

What does a Christian nun from 12th century Germany have to do with an international organization of Goddess devotees? More than you might think. Life Force Arts Center, Chicago’s space for spiritually-based visual, literary, and performing art, presents an art exhibit and multi arts festival connecting these seemingly contradictory themes. “Universal Love: Embracing The Divine In All” features the work of fifteen visual artists in various media, including painting, sculpture, jewelry, and mixed media exploring the themes of unconditional love, the unity of all things, transforming separateness into universality and love for all people and beings.

“Universal Love” will be held from September 24, 2010 – January 2, 2011, at Life Force Arts Center gallery, located at 3148 N Lincoln Avenue in Chicago, with an opening reception on Friday, September 24 from 6 – 10 PM. Admission is free and gallery hours are 12 – 6 PM Monday – Friday and by appointment. The exhibit will encompass the Hildegard von Bingen Festival of music, dance, and poetry, Peggy Rubin’s Sacred Theater workshop, The Fellowship of Isis Goddess Festival, 5Rhythm’s Movement Practice workshop “The Heart Is A Compass” and other events, for a season-long exploration of the themes of divine love and unity.

Life Force Arts Center, 3148 N Lincoln, Chicago, is Chicago’s space for spiritually-based visual, literary, and performing art. The Center presents dance, theater, music, performance art, authors, and visual artists of all faiths and spiritual traditions. Life Force Arts Center defines spiritual art as art that flows from spiritual practice, art that strives to connect the audience with Spirit, and/or creates spiritual healing, transformation, or awakening.

LFAC’s Executive Director, Joan Forest Mage, explains, “We looked for a theme for our fall exhibit that would harmonize with the performance events we planned for the season. We have a festival planned for October 15 -16 inspired by the work of Hildegard von Bingen, a nun, mystic, composer, healer, and herbalist living in 12th century Germany. She composed exquisite poetry and music about her deep relationship with the Divine and humanity’s connection to nature.

“We are also hosting the Fellowship of Isis Goddess Festival on October 2. The Fellowship is an international organization dedicated to the Divine Feminine. Fellowship co-founder Lady Olivia Robertson, who will be joining us at the Festival, has created a liturgy about cultivating love for all beings, rather than the limiting concept of love as being about exclusive relationships or partnerships. We chose the theme Universal Love for the art exhibit because it’s the theme behind both Hildegard’s and Olivia’s work.”

Artist Linmayu Appavu knows this concept intimately. “Recently, through a long period of solitude between relationships, I really experienced what it meant to be ‘married to God,’ like a nun. I started training with Dahn Yoga and learned the concept of universal love — they call it ‘Chun Ji Ki Un,’ or pure cosmic energy. I learned that Hildegard von Bingen said all the same things they are teaching in Dahn — 900 years ago on the other side of the world. The concept that humans and nature are all interconnected via Divine energy. Hildegard fought hard to have that concept accepted by the authorities at the time. So it can be a struggle to express in society that connection, that universal energy. That’s what all my work — the paintings and the dance — strives to express.”

Artist Steve Adams, who is creating a sculpture for “Universal Love,” says, “With all the war and violence in the world now, I see embracing all religions and ethnic groups as the primary task for humanity at this time. We need to come together — to begin living from the perspective of universal love, instead of loving only specific people and things. Universal Love also means to look for the good in all situations, instead of focusing on the negative things. Everybody needs more love — and the best way to find it is to love yourself first. I have done tarot readings for over 30 years, and the most common thing people ask me about is how they can find a loving relationship. They have it backward. When you embrace universal love first, then you can easily find personal love by sharing your life with someone else.”

Artist Joyce Huntington, with two paintings in the exhibit, says, “Years ago, while meditating in my living room, I opened my eyes and looked out to the street where a friend was standing in the yard. I saw that person connected to a nearby tree with infinitesimal lines of light, and those same lines connected to a bird in the sky and to a child playing down the block, and to the sun and back to me sitting in my living room. Nothing is unconnected. I was able to sense the whole. I have tried to paint in this light, to include this sense of connection in my work ever since.”

Exhibiting Artists for Universal Love

Yeohyun Ahn
Steven Blaine Adams
Gina Alicea
Linmayu Appavu
Sharon Bechtold

Judy Demchuk
Joyce Huntington
Angela Lombardo
Joan Marie
Daniel Nolan

Sharron Ott
Olivia Robertson
Janet Schill
beverly stephan
Sayre Vickers