Exhibition: 3rd Rock from the Sun, Anne Crossey

Anne Crossey has a primary degree in Philosophy, an MA in Western Esotericism (University of Exeter) and an M.Phil in Psychoanalytic Studies (Trinity College, Dublin). Her paintings have been shown in Dublin, London and at the New York Foundation for the Arts. Her work has appeared in various publications including Abraxas Journal and I:MAGE. This year she was invited to sit as the artist on the Black Mirror panel at University of Northampton and later this month she will be talking about her work at a conference at UCC. Anne has written two books- The Cloud of Unknowing, Books 1 and 2.

Here what shes says about “3rd Rock from the Sun” and art in general:

“I’m not an artist, at all. I’m a thinker who uses paint. I’ve only had two art teachers in my adult life but I guess I was lucky that they were very good teachers! Ian Humphreys taught me how to draw and the importance of standing back to look and John Simpson taught me patience, the art of letting the paint do the work, and maybe most importantly, how to understand the language of colour. That’s a bit ironic as far as this exhibition goes as these paintings are very dark. Very black! But I don’t use black paint. I don’t have any black paint in the studio. Black paint is dead- that’s what John taught me- it should be used very sparingly. All of my blacks are made out of colours- reds, blues, ochres, traces of gold and silver. Like an obsidian stone, black, but if you look closely, it’s made up of millions of tiny rainbows. The great Elizabethan Magus, John Dee, used an obsidian mirror for scrying or looking into other worlds. I use my paintings in much the same way, as vehicles for exploring the deep, unchartered territories of mind.


I guess we are all aliens here in a sense. Clothed in fleshy spacesuits, constructed out of stardust, we have no real idea of why we are here or even what ‘here’ is. We hurtle through space on our tiny blue speck. Beyond our Goldilocks realm, space is by-and-large a hostile place with non-Euclidean angles, blinding radiation, and the Gods alone know what else! But we are here, on our home, comfortable planet Earth, 3rd Rock From the Sun.


There are many possible answers to how we should spend our short time here on this space-rock, all probably valid from some particular perspective, but I primarily do one thing- I spend my time making magic. To do that I mostly now use John Dee’s ‘Monas Hieroglyphica’, the glyph or symbol of the Philosopher’s Stone. I plant it in the darkest regions of mind as a beacon to Sophia, Goddess of Wisdom, and Hermes, the God of the Philosophers. I bury it in my paintings and wrap it in layer upon layer of paint. I bury it in my books, wrapped in a fleshy spacesuit made of words.


It might sound a bit odd to be talking about magic in this ‘modern’ world of appearances and superficiality but my work has a precedent dating from the birth of abstract art. Kandinsky’s ‘Concerning the Spiritual in Art’ (1911) was the first attempt to explain why abstraction was important and he emphasized the power of these invisible things, symbols, forces, that could be hidden in layers of paint. ‘Concerning the Spiritual’ remains a landmark work from arguably the first abstract painter. It’s a very important piece of writing. I have also been influenced by Austin Spare and Jaques Lacan. And Plotinus- but that’s just getting geeky! Philosophy is my real passion though. As I say, I’m not an artist. I’m a thinker who paints.’