Mystic Geometry: Mapping the Human Experience Through Art and Spirituality

Spirituality is defined as being concerned with the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things. Spirituality found in art is often felt yet not spoken about in open dialogue. Instead, coded language is used to describe the fluidity of mysticism and visual storytelling. Upon entering museums and galleries, viewers are often expected to ponder and discuss what they see in an artist’s work. This practice has turned into a ritual used to gain a deeper understanding. 

Contemporary artist, Katerina Lanfranco boldly provides a platform for this discussion with Mystic Geometry, a collection of paintings, sculptures, and recreated ritual paraphernalia currently on show at Nancy Hoffman Gallery. Lanfranco gives viewers an unadulterated glimpse into the ethereal realm of sacred geometry and other forms of magic and spiritualism.

Katerina Lanfranco -  Night Void , 2017, oil paint and mixed media on canvas, 72 x 84 inches. Image courtesy Nancy Hoffman Gallery.

Katerina Lanfranco - Night Void, 2017, oil paint and mixed media on canvas, 72 x 84 inches. Image courtesy Nancy Hoffman Gallery.

Katerina Lanfranco -  Twilight Ether , 2017, oil paint and mixed media on canvas, 72 x 84 inches. Image courtesy Nancy Hoffman Gallery.

Katerina Lanfranco - Twilight Ether, 2017, oil paint and mixed media on canvas, 72 x 84 inches. Image courtesy Nancy Hoffman Gallery.

When analyzing art, there seems to be an unspoken rule to use one’s physical eye as well as spiritual eye, the intuition. Art enthusiasts and critics study art, whether in passing or as a career focus, to reveal and debate underlying meanings. Lanfranco invites many suggestions for her art’s underlying meanings with her neon coloured pentagram on the welcoming floor of the Nancy Hoffman Gallery. The pentagram is a geometric shape that evokes curiosity and fear as it has historically been used to represent magic and occult practices. Many of these practices are depicted in horror films as dramatic themes of human sacrifice and supernatural manipulation and mutilation.

Lanfranco fearlessly confronts these stigmas with Mystic Geometry. She marries the controversy surrounding spirituality with the freedom that comes with art. Lanfranco softens the blow of exposure by using symbols, feathers, crystals, shells, flowers, and vibrant colours in her approach. Her large-scale paintings focus on earthly elements and seasons. These works appear to be a visual ode to astrology, an ancient system believed to calculate the planetary influence on human life. Like astrology, art thrives off of the need to make sense of things. This usually manifests as mapping.

Katerina Lanfranco -  Afternoon Summer , 2017, oil paint and mixed media on canvas, 72 x 72 inches. Image courtesy Nancy Hoffman Gallery.

Katerina Lanfranco - Afternoon Summer, 2017, oil paint and mixed media on canvas, 72 x 72 inches. Image courtesy Nancy Hoffman Gallery.

Katerina Lanfranco -  Dawn Air , 2017, oil paint and mixed media on canvas, 72 x 72 inches. Image courtesy Nancy Hoffman Gallery.

Katerina Lanfranco - Dawn Air, 2017, oil paint and mixed media on canvas, 72 x 72 inches. Image courtesy Nancy Hoffman Gallery.

In marketing, perceptual mapping enables companies to better understand their customers: the who, why, where, how and what of their behaviour. Art enthusiasts generally inquire about the artist’s life and personal traumas, seeking to reconcile the work, the artist, and the self on a philosophical level, which is also a form of mapping. However, instead of viewers using this technique to create and sustain a clientele, perceptual mapping is used to create a conceptual base of understanding the seen and unseen essence of the human experience within art. 

Words by Gabrielle Fairfax.