Written by Rebecca Kinzie Bastian
The path to healing is never easy. It can take years of focused, purposeful work to recover from the traumas that life so often and easily hands out. Meditating, finding purpose, embracing the positive energy that surrounds us—all of these techniques are powerful tools for those on the healing path. In his new exhibit, “Reign Upon Sonrise: A Five Year Healing, Meditation and Rebirth” artist Michael Carini, has partnered with art-therapy-focused Expressive Arts Institute to combine these techniques into a vivid source of hope and possibility, both for the artist and his audience.
The journey into“Reign Upon Sonrise” began when Carini discovered the long-buried secrets of his father’s life, secrets that were manifesting themselves in Carini’s own psyche. As Carini explains, “In August 2012, at the age of 28, I was reconnected with the biological family I never knew. At that time, I learned that my father, also named Michael, did not die in a car accident as I had always been told. Rather, I came to find out that he took his own life on my mother’s 21st Birthday, just shortly before I turned a year old. He did not leave a note.” The polyptych was conceived as a tribute to his father, a suicide note, a passage toward light, and a way to put aside the past.
Carini’s larger-than-life works have always been intended to heal and illuminate through a sort of psychedelic, transcendental swirl, offering a “mind-blown,” explosive catharsis. It is play of the highest and most intense order.
Psychologists have long explored the role of play in child development and how play continues to effect emotional well-being in adults. Joy, spontaneity, and exploration allow us to process the outer world and translate it into an inner language of understanding. It is this unselfconscious freedom that we see most clearly in all of Carini’s work—what allows the viewer to participate in a sense of revised reality and intense possibility.
And while elements of play have most certainly been retained in this new work—fresh colors ranging from dusky to bright like a well-ordered box of crayons—there is a deeper, more meditative quality to these works, a maturity and constraint not seen in the 33-year-old artist’s earlier, more psychedelic acrylics.
The exhibit consists of 49, 48×6 canvases, Carini calls “Reigndrops.” Together, these canvases create a “Reignbough,” a narrative arc designed for introspection and spiritual restoration. It is a type of via-negativa— shifting from darkness to light that moves beyond the exhibition space and into a metaphysical realm—inviting us to go deep, keep living, and open our hearts and minds to the possibility of joy.
The exhibit is open to the public at the Martha Pace Swift Gallery Liberty Station, 2820 Roosevelt Road, #204, San Diego, California through September 22, 2017.