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The Mandorla series of paintings by artist Stephen Auger.



In this series, a central, repeating shape emerges from fields of ambient color. Ovular and flamelike, this central form draws us into the work, inviting deep contemplation. It grounds us within the composition so that we may, from a place of balance and serenity, slip into the subtle nuances of surrounding color.

The mandorla, a full-body aureole, indicates divinity. Believed by Jungians to be the mother archetypal form, it is the source: from it, all other forms derive. However, while deeply connected to the divine feminine, the mandorla honors the masculine and feminine in every human being.

Initially, this form emerged by surprise, through movement, gravity and trial and error in the artist’s studio. Auger now knows how to encourage the mandorla’s emergence. First, he applies paint to the surface the canvas; then, he pours particles – in this case, tiny optical glass spheres – onto the paint while moving the canvas in a particular way. As the spheres flow downward on the moving canvas, they begin to self organize, creating the shape of the mandorla.

There is a coordination of movement that’s involved. The canvas is moving, I’m moving, the matter is moving, and all of that has to come together – so it’s a very fluid moment. I need to be absolutely focused. I can’t be thinking about something else. A lot of my work demands hyper presence.