Shaman’s Way
From the earliest days of my studio practice, five decades ago in New York City, there are two constants:  working in series—exploring a theme or image through multiple paintings and drawings—and having a sound backdrop in the studio—music from Philip Glass and Sibelius, to the Great American Songbook of Cole Porter and Harold Arlen, but with jazz always dominating. 

In the early 1970s a series of sound drawings were exhibited at the Truman Gallery in New York, and later at the Spencer Museum of Art in Lawrence, Kansas.  The repetition of iconic images—from the volcanic hills of the Palouse in Eastern Washington and Idaho, where I was raised, to Northern Idaho’s glacial lakes—is the underpinning of my work.  Studying under Louis Bunce at the Portland Museum School brought me often to the Oregon and Washington coasts with their ocean rock stacks and towers, and evergreens in the mist.   

In my last two exhibited series, Pacific Portals: Arcane Image at Imogen in June 2016, and Blues Indigo at a Portland gallery in October 2017, I did not attempt a realistic representation of nature, but rather a poetic depiction of the mystery of the natural world. 

This latest series, Shaman’s Way, has its origins in those medicine men and women who connected with nature and all creation to influence the world of good and evil.  For many of them the world’s center was a tree—the axis mundi—which the shaman ascends for enlightenment.  Jazz musicians—Coltrane, Miles Davis, Oscar Peterson, Herbie Hancock—and vocalists Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughn—embody the shaman’s way along with some painters.  For me those painters who most exemplify the shaman’s tradition include Van Gogh, Mondrian, Morris Graves, Charles Burchfield, Rothko and Jackson Pollock. 

I hope my paintings capture some of that magical conjuring.
Marc Boone
October 2018