First Solo Exhibition by Jessica K Ballantyne,
Curated by Maimuna Adam
In her “Sacred Nude” (2018) series, Jessica K Ballantyne presents morphed female bodies, at once multiple and singular, in a dialogue with the Flower of Life, an ancient and supposedly sacred, geometric symbol. For Ballantyne, the Flower of Life becomes an emblem of an ethereal self, an energy found outside the physical body.
Noting the symbol’s appearance throughout sacred sites and temples throughout the world and in the research by, amongst others, Leonardo Da Vinci, it is used to bring a sense of stability and peace through symmetry. Ballantyne feels that creating and having Sacred Geometry within eyesight can serve as a conscious and subconscious reminder of its creative, healing energy. The bodies in the Sacred Nude series are either turning towards the Flower of Life or away from it, but the symbol remains a source of light.
The artist’s fascination with the Flower of Life stems from her contact, not only with the metaphysical qualities of Sacred Geometry, but also through her research into meditation and neuroscience. The Flower of Life thus became a symbol of divine wisdom and healing change that can be achieved through self-reflection or meditation.
The Sacred Nudes are bodies that are naked, surrounded or framed by lush drapery inspired by classical nudes within the Western cannon of female beauty. Using bodies familiar to her, Ballantyne subtly questions her own ego and attachment to the body. As a South African woman, of Rhodesian, English and Scottish descent, growing up in Apartheid and post-Apartheid South Africa, her nudes inevitably tell us more than the artist would initially lead us to believe. These are bodies are simultaneously presented to us as light while not negating the darker places of the soul; the ego mind and the fears associated with inhabiting a temporary, material body in a politically and socially unstable country. The Sacred Nudes subtly confront the Western cannon of beauty by distorting and disfiguring the bodies whilst simultaneously placing them within a ‘safe’ space where the light of wisdom or truth in the form of the Flower of Life can envelope them.
"As humans we have been bombarded with imagery of women. Unfortunately many of these images teach us to constantly view ourselves from the outside, as bodies and objects without subjectivity and presence. I rebel against this limiting portrayal of women and invite the viewer into a private, psychological space where I manipulate the physical body to speak about presence, transcending the ego and letting go of attachments to the body and mind." - Jessica K. Ballantyne
Sacred Nude is a free, solo exhibition of eleven mixed-media drawings by Jessica K Ballantyne, combining the nude with a surreal twist, a distortion and doubling of bodies alongside Sacred Geometry.
The exhibition celebrates the psychological, spiritual and the divine feminine and was a tribute to a meditation experience the artist had during a progressive workshop with neuroscientist and author Dr Joe Dispenza.
Saturday 22 September 2018 at 6-9pm.