I am very excited about taking part in this show, inspired by William Blake’s All religions are one (1788) and reflecting on the idea of religious beliefs and connectivity between different religions throughout history.
The first of William Blake’s illuminated manuscripts, All religions are one is his first successful attempt to combine image and text via relief etching and a significant milestone in his career. What did Blake mean when he asserted that all religions are one? This is a statement of fundamental principles and views that Blake would hold all his life and is often seen in his work. The argument Blake puts forward is that every religion, and every philosophy, originated in God’s revelation. However, that revelation is then filtered through our human consciousness. Therefore, each creed, religion or philosophy taken on by humankind adopts a human characteristic, laying over a divine essence.
A skeletal fish signifies our natural ancestry. The image below it balances two concepts: nature; and religion, intended as a construct used to distance ourselves from our humble natural heritage. ‘Gattaca’ is a word made from the abbreviations for the DNA nucleotide bases guanine (G), adenine (A), thymine (T) and cytosine (C). The sequence GATTACA occurs many times throughout the recently published human genome. In this artwork, a stream of code from the human genome (random sequences of the letters G, A, T and C) signifies ‘science’ and our physical journey. Hidden and embedded in the coding are names of religions. These ‘labels’ are not present in the actual coding, but represent differences in explanations of self and signify a spiritual search for origins. The pyramidal form mimics imposed hierarchical categorization of nature, with ‘us’ as the apex of the structure.
Private View: Friday 15 Jan 2016, 6-10pm
Gabriel Fine Art Gallery
Cottage 2, Old Paradise Yard
20 Carlisle Lane
London SE1 7LG