When Sheba Blitz first arrived in Second Life, it was without any preconceived ideas about displaying her work. However, after encountering the vibrant arts communities that exist across the platform she decided to give exhibiting her work a try – and I, for one am glad that she did.
Hailing from Australia, Sheba has studied art in a variety of styles over the years, gaining several diplomas in the process. However, throughout her time as an artist, she has found focus in painting mandalas – which she does so quite exquisitely.
For those unfamiliar with it, the mandala (literally meaning “circle” in Sanskrit) is a symbol with very deep religious, spiritual and even political meaning. It may be employed in spiritual guidance, focusing the attention of practitioners and adepts, as a means of establishing a sacred space and as an aid to meditation and trance induction. Mandalas are particularly used in Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Shintoism. They also have new age symbolism, and were regarded by Jung as a means to explore “the fourfold nature of the psyche”.
I first encountered Sheba’s work five years ago and was immediately captivated. Specialising in painting quarternity mandalas, she works with gouache, acrylics and metallic paints on either canvas or paper, drawing on sources such as music, books, astrology and tarot symbolism as her inspiration. The finished pieces are all intricately beautiful, endlessly geometric, generally perfectly symmetric, and rich in symbolism.
All of this creative, spiritual beauty can currently be seen at the Janus III Gallery on Chuck Clip’s Sinful Retreat, where Sheba is exhibiting a selection of her work entitled Into the Mystic.
Across the two floors of the gallery one can find the most meticulous pieces of art that are utterly captivating.
Whenever I witness Sheba’s art and and consider the work that went into each piece, I cannot help but be put in mind of dul-tson-kyil-khor (mandala of coloured powders) in Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhism. Like those painstakingly constructed sand paintings, there is an inherent balance within Sheba’s paintings in terms of symmetry and harmony that lifts the spirit whilst also speak to the depth of focus on the part of the artist.
Like the work of Tibetan monks, Sheba’s art is rich in iconography that combines geometric shapes and spiritual symbols.
However, unlike the Tibetan sand painting, which is intentionally impermanent, each piece ritualistically destroyed and used as an offering to water and life once the meditation of its creation is complete, Sheba’s art endures well beyond its creation. In this, while sand painting might speak to the impermanence of life and the cycle of creation, Sheba’s art reflects the enduring nature and balance of the cosmos around us.
This is art for which images on a page simply do not do justice. Each piece is so rich in form and intricate in detail, Sheba’s work deserves to be seen and appreciated first hand whether you are drawn to the spiritual symbolism of the mandala or simply drawn to art for its beauty and geometry So do take time to drop into the Janus III Gallery before this exhibition ends later in the month.
- Janus III Gallery (Sinful Retreat, rated Adult)