member of:Observers of the Interdependence of Domestic Objects and Their Influence on Everyday Life

This group has been active for a long time and has already made some remarkable assertions which render life simpler from the practical point of view. For example, I move a pot of green color five centimeters to the right, I push in the thumbtack beside the comb and if Mr. A (another adherent like me) at this moment puts his volume about bee-keeping beside a pattern for cutting out vests, I am sure to meet on the sidewalk of the avenida Madero a woman who intrigues me and whose origin and address I never could have known...
--Remedios Varo

(Slideshow is of Artwork by Remedios Varo)
By believing passionately in something that still does not exist, we create it. The nonexistent is whatever we have not sufficiently desired.
--Franz Kafka

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Lucy's Eyes

“I do not think that 70 years is the time of a man or woman, nor that 70 millions of years is the time of man or woman, nor that years will ever stop the existence of me, or anyone else.”
—Walt Whitman

Saint Lucy decided at an early age that she did not want to be with a man; she preferred to give her self completely to God, though she lived in a time when it was not permitted to follow Christian beliefs. To deflect the attentions of a suitor who was captivated by the beauty of her eyes, she carved them out and sent them to him. Miraculously, she was still able to see—whether with new eyes that God gave her, as in some stories, or by some higher sight, as in others. I have chosen something along the middle path here, giving her the many eyes of a peacock’s tail, which serves also as a sort of halo. Lucy also faithfully braved the dangers of guilt by association, regularly taking bread to the Christians that were already in hiding from the authorities. Eventually, she was denounced as a Christian by another spurned suitor, and after various failed attempts, the Roman soldiers succeeded at killing her.

The idea of sight coming from somewhere other than the eyes is one that can be found in many fables, tales, myths, and religions. There are those even in the current scientific community who spend their lives seeking out and testing those who claim to have some other sort of sight—into the silent thoughts of others, into the future, across great distances, or into other realms where ghosts, angels, and demons reside. It is suggested that the earliest mention of such abilities is found in the Odyssey, but second sight is very common to the lore of the Scottish Highlands and the Icelandic sagas, and precognition is widely accepted among the Native Americans as well as tribes across South Africa and New Zealand.

In The Holographic Universe, Michael Talbot tells the following story about an event concerning a hypnotist his father had hired to entertain at a party and a family friend, named Tom, who agreed to play guinea pig for the evening:

“Tom proved to be a very good subject, and within seconds the hypnotist had him in a deep trance. He then proceeded with the usual tricks performed by stage hypnotists. He convinced Tom there was a giraffe in the room and had Tom gaping in wonder. He told Tom that a potato was really an apple and had Tom eat it with gusto. But the highlight of the evening was when he told Tom that when he came out of trance, his teenage daughter, Laura, would be completely invisible to him. Then, after having Laura stand directly in front of the chair in which Tom was sitting, the hypnotist awakened him and asked him if he could see her.

Tom looked around the room and his gaze appeared to pass right through his giggling daughter. ‘No,’ he replied…Then the hypnotist went behind Laura so he was hidden from Tom’s view and pulled an object out of his pocket. He kept the object carefully concealed so that no one in the room could see it, and pressed it against the small of Laura’s back. He asked Tom to identify the object. Tom leaned forward as if staring directly through Laura’s stomach and said that it was a watch. The hypnotist nodded and asked if Tom could read the watch’s inscription. Tom squinted as if struggling to make out the writing and recited both the name of the watch’s owner (which happened to be a person unknown to any of us in the room) and the message. The hypnotist then revealed that the object was indeed a watch and passed it around the room so that everyone could see that Tom had read its inscription correctly.” (141)

So, what was Tom seeing the watch with, then? Was he really seeing through his daughter? Or was he seeing the watch by seeing the thoughts in the hypnotist’s head? What is that?

While working on this painting, I came across yet another story, this one about an autistic girl, who has of course been subjected to many recorded medical studies since her abilities were noticed. Blind from birth, this girl wanders around by herself without running into things by making little chirping noises which somehow act as a sonar, as in the case of bats. She also always knows what time it is, though she has never seen a clock…

In this icon of St. Lucy, I have chosen time as that which is being re-envisioned, or seen new. The various clock pieces come apart, reconfigure, and tumble about through space; some of them are organic, forming the labyrinths where the Christians Lucy must feed hide from the monsters, requiring her to find her way by following an inner radiance and sureness of step, that is, by faith and by transcending (thus the birds) her physical handicap.

(Two heavy influences on my thinking about this work: Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius by Jorge Luis Borges, and How to Create a Universe that Doesn’t Fall Apart Two Days Later by Philip K. Dick).


  1. Without any doubt, your best painting.
    Trust me. I'm an expert in art and paintings :).
    I love it.

  2. I agree with Migue......this is amazing! Awesome post and story too!

  3. wow! thanks, that makes me very happy, you two!
    migue--as i should have been packing, i was instead thinking about new ways of seeing...trying to fortify :D i decided (in avoidance of boxes) that there were things i wasn't satisfied with about it, so i set to work...
    glad you still like it :D

  4. Ah, something else we have in common- Philip K. Dick. This is a really interesting post, with a fascinating discussion of second sight. You're probably familiar with the artist Sulamith Wulfing, who says she actually sees the angels and spirits she paints; she seems otherwise normal (i.e. not crazy). I think that often people are seeing the thoughts in another person's head, as in the case of your hypnotist. But what about seeing things that haven't happened yet? I guess physics will explain that some day; after all, time isn't really linear.

    The painting is fabulous! I agree with Migue that it's your best so far (that I've seen).

  5. Very intersting post, zoe and your painting is so beautiful!!
    As Lisa Randall, an American theoretical physicist once said ”It's hubris to think that the way we see things is everything there is”, I think there are lots and lots of unknowns. I suppose you have already read some books on the Third Eye, the ajna chakra (sixth chakra) also known as brow chakra or brow center....

  6. Bountiful in wisdom dear Zoe and your painting is glorious!

  7. je suis comme st.lucie.. je vois.. et j'admire la composition, la couleur et le thème!

  8. Zoe, I'm not an expert by any means but I totally agree with Migue that this is the best work you've posted. And since everything I've seen is glorious, everything you do touches a respondant cord, I'm at a loss for a proper adjective that reaches higher. You've got such wisdom. A beautiful post!! Thank you.

  9. Zoe, I'd be too, echoing others to say this is a really excellent painting! and my other favorite by you is the one seen on your avatar :)
    And an interesting story too, (i've also read an article you've linked, by Philip K.Dick).

    Now it's often being told that there is no past and future and everything happens at the same time, in now. It's difficult to realize living in 3-dimensional physical world but there are methods to go beyond, like 3rd eye opening; i've even heard about methods teaching to See with brains/consciousness(??)

    Zoe, have you read the books by Gregg Braden? He's scientist and the best modern writer dealing with the subject of quantum, holographic nature of Universe and he tells how this knowledge can be used to activate self-healing mechanisms and creating desirable realities. I read almost all his books, and find them astonishing and most helpful. - here's a link to his official site, if you got interested;
    and you can find him on Youtube and FB, too.

    Thank you for this post!

  10. I really like the new painting! It seems to have a weightlessness... such a wonderful way of demonstrating this sort of other sight you've been describing.

    Have you heard of St. Odilia? She's another blind saint, and is often depicted as eyeless, but carrying a book with eyes in it. I thought she had a story similar to Lucy's but looking on the internet now, I must have confused them.

    Gosh, you seem to have been busy painting this last little while!

  11. Zoe, I see you have been busy--were there more hours in the days, I would come peek at you more often! Congratulations on your progress, and thanks for the interesting tale of the guinea pig Tom...