Mary Koenen Clausen
Mary Koenen Clausen’s mixed media collages are rich in texture and image. Her works frequently are comprised of three visual fields or planes: the heavens, earth, and underworld. Figures composed of mismatched heads and bodies float among animals, icons, musical notes, and foreign texts on backgrounds thickly painted with deep hues. Mary sees the musical notes, symbols and foreign text, many of which she reproduces in her own hand, as messages emanating from her spiritual guides while channelling energy from other time and space dimensions. Hers is a truly unique creative process.
“The Conduit” mixed media, oil and collage on paper
Mary says of her process: “Collage is a matter of refining design. I sit with the pieces scattered around me and they come together. I always think in terms of layers. I don’t treat collage differently from painting.” She gathers her material from Italian magazines, 17th and 18th century Bibles, antique books, among other sources. Mary also uses photographs of her surroundings in her work. Her home and studio are full of paintings, photographs, wall hangings, dolls, and other collected objects, an environment that reflects the complexity of her work.
“Art became a very significant force in my life at an early age and continues to the present. At about five years of age I became a voluntary mute. In large part, because of pressures to conform to the models of socialization and a learning approach that was dependent on memorization. I felt increasingly conflicted with the outside world in sharp contrast to the feelings and perceptions I gained from listening to my own inner world. I shut out what I felt took away from my ability to gain internal awareness. In doing so, I became an “outsider”. Those thought processes have served me through all of my experiences in life. It is the foundation of my art and my life.
My perceptions have become refined over time, and coupled with my internal creative drive, I have developed an intuitive process that guides my use of images, technique, choice of color, and overall composition in my work. Mid-life, I took an interest in west African religion that has influenced my work heavily. Fascinated by the use of ritual, fetishes and symbols, the ensuing work took on a profoundly spiritual influence. Medieval and biblical manuscripts and texts, Italian and Dutch paintings, antique store treasures now find their way into my work. I work in oil on paper, incorporating manipulated photo collage. I view all of my work as self-portraits documenting journeys taken and voices heard.
“The Raining” mixed media, oil and collage on paper
The purpose of my work is to nurture and ready the soul to awaken to a larger reality using a two dimensional visual format as its vehicle. In a sense, I imagine myself to be a form of spiritual medium, interpreting the soul of nature and communicating through Divination with a parallel universe. The impact of my work can be experienced on many levels, depending on one’s readiness to receive deeper and deeper levels of information. My work houses “tools” necessary for one to access new perspectives from which to view larger and larger bodies of ideas and, perhaps, consciousness itself. How the viewer makes that connection is a very personal experience. It is my greatest pleasure to share new languages of “being” from worlds that we can only imagine today, but which may help to expand our experience of tomorrow.”