Sybils: Formation of Thought

SLA 307
307 W 30th Street
New York, NY 10001
November 2 to 30

Opening reception, Friday November 2, 6-9 PM
Visits at other times are by appointment: 917-501-3275

Formation of Thought

Over these past four decades, I have been artistically exploring the origins of thinking and consciousness.

Where does awareness come from?

How is it that we are cognizant of ourselves and of those near us?

What is it that makes us human?

How is it that our thoughts are formed?

The many layers of visual and thematic elements incorporated in these pieces mirrors our neuronal complexity and the depths in which our memories and our beings reside.
The underlying images include my own previous art works. I transform them into exotic forms, just as our memories transform visual impulses into vast neuronal web-works. Multiple layers are assembled, modified and blended. Cerebral cortical neuronal drawings, superimposed and subtracted from the surrounding color, reveal deeper layers of thoughts and memories. My own MRI brain scans and electroencephalograms (brain waves) are interweaved. From neuronal complexity words, thoughts, and consciousness emerge.

The two Sybil sequences in this exhibit further expand my artistic investigations of our thought processes.

Sybil Triptych

This sequence deals with the famous Sybil who had dissociative identity disorder (multiple personality disorder). Besides a book detailing the struggles of her life, there were two major Hollywood motion pictures (1976 and 2007) made about her.

In 1980 I visited the home where she grew up, located in Dodge Center, Minnesota. I photographed it at night.

In 1990 this photograph served as one of my Thought Art sequence. For the Sybil Triptych I interwove this image into the transformed neuronal background.

These pieces include many layers of neuronal and artistic composition paralleling the complexity of the human mind, especially of one that has overlapping identities.

Earlier this year Sybil’s Mind: Purple was featured on the front cover of Seizure magazine—a premier European neurology journal.


There was absolutely no choice. In early February, I had to make the pilgrimage to see the Michelangelo exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. This was an artistic, and almost a religious, pilgrimage. I was stunned by the exhibit. It was hard to believe the large volume of high-quality work that Michelangelo produced.

What left the greatest impression on me was his preparatory sketch of the Libyan Sybil, eventually incorporated into the Sistine Chapel. This diminutive drawing, just a few inches in height, was used as the primary advertisement image for the exhibit—rightfully so.

I decided that I must expand the original Sybil series and incorporate Michelangelo’s five Sybils which he created for the Sistine Chapel.

On a dark blue, night sky background, the Sybils are traversing time and space in generating their oracular insights. Their insights emerge from the vast webwork of neuronal processes. These Sybils contemplate time and the source of our understandings on a cosmic scale. In the deep background, one finds original Sybil text citations in Greek—barely visible, but perceptible.

Among the many elements included in these pieces are Lithuanian themes.

Cumaean Sybil incorporates my discovery that M. K. Ciurlionis’ art works were displayed in exhibits in 1910, Paris, and in 1912, London. The Second Post-Impressionist Art Exhibit in London was a very controversial and thus important art historical event. It is this exhibit which launched the careers of Braque, Cezanne, Matisse, Picasso and Rousseau—and Ciurlionis’ works were there! In addition, I discovered many positive art critical reviews about Ciurlionis’ art. These findings led to a series of articles which were published in Lituanus, Draugas and Literatura ir Menas (1977-78), and to my book Ciurlionis: Mintys/Thoughts (Vilniaus Dailes Akademija, 2004).

Libyan Sybil incorporates a photograph taken during Sunday mass at Lithuania’s Pilviskiai church, which my father and forefathers attended.

Erythraean Sybil makes reference to Ciurlionis’ Laidotuviu Simfonija.

I was born and raised in Toronto, Canada—I cannot neglect my own country of origin. In 1980 I traveled to the High Canadian Arctic. On Ellesmere Island, the most northerly island in North America, at noon on the Summer Solstice, I created a stone time line. This served as a basis for a 1994 photodocumentary piece, which was transformed into the 2011, 5 x 12 foot painting, Creative Thoughts / Tango, and appears in the background of the Delphic Sybil.

All of these pieces are archival quality prints on 24 x 24-inch paper. They were all created in 2018.