The ☼☽ Series Press Kit

A series of sculpture, paintings, and imagery by Joseph Malfettone.

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The Story – May 2016

The works in this series are a culmination of my experiences. A union of time and an illumination of things that we might have just misunderstood. They embody aspects of the experience while alluding to principles that can invite it in personally for the viewer. In all, I hope they shed insight as to what’s possible with the right moment of pause – a testament from where true beauty comes.

I have always had a natural skepticism through many parts of my life, but had always wanted to believe in something. Being a quiet child, from time to time I would ride along with the current, feeling as good as I could by taking part in the same thing everyone else was. The same positions toward life, the same emotions (more or less) and same tastes. Yet there had always been a part of me, as I have seen in others, that questions it. This experience I am about to share – the experience that sparked this series – is a view outside of the rat race. There is a part of each of us that knows that this way of life exists but, just as I did as a child, goes along with the current. If circumstances of today’s external world are any indication of what should be shared I wish for this series to do what it was intended. To inspire what we all really know to be while serving as the example in a language made for everyone – something visual, tactile, sensational.

In many ways, most of us have become jaded – in one direction or the other. To become hardened, closed and unforgiving, and always assuming, or overly open, contantly putting ourselves in positions to be taken advantage of (while, also, always assuming). Each comes from the same position – a naivetee to not see the world as it is, but to the play to part of the one that life happens to. Not one of active participation. Whether aggressor or aggressed upon, the core symptoms are the same. If not through art, through inspiration, then how can one then glimpse beyond the roles that constantly lay at our feet. There has to be a gap in the mind, in the psychological systems we have fabricated for ourselves. Symptoms that actively participate in every system of the human body from its functions, interpretations, and very sensations – skewing the very idea we have of ourselves and the world in which we find ourselves – so that life can participate through us.

It was March, 2016 when, at night, I was finishing work while leaving House of Cards on in the background. My new wife and I hadn’t watched much media since we began living together, but something about this night drove me to multiple screens. As I was in the middle of plugging away, intently looking at the screen, a large rush came through my body – moving upward. What felt like a large amount of energy began pulsing upward from what felt like my stomach to above my head. My mind immediately went into action trying to calculate and discern what was happening. Many conclusions came up – all of which looked pretty bleak – but none of which was satisfactory. After about 10 minutes my eyesight became impaired – split apart and jumpy – similar to the aura of a migraine, yet without the early onset symptoms of a headache (having gone through many in high school I was prone to understanding the routine). My mind went into hyperdrive debating the worst while seeming to exacerbate psychological symptoms. At the same time, another part of me had its own discernment, being able to feel into the body to check physical symptoms while looking at those that were just in my mind. It wasn’t a heart attack; there was no tingling, restriction of blood, and no irregular pacing of the heart. In fact, my body wasn’t acting as my mind was. It wasn’t in unison with its erratic behaviour. It was split.

Forty five minutes into this experience, laying in bed with the assistance of my wife (my mind waiting for the moment we would no longer exist) I began to feel the energy through my body change character. It was no longer flowing up but began to pulsate around me, like an electric tingle and hum. From this point it began to delineate or pulsate discernably around a certain point above my body. With my focus there, it began to take its own course, going from the outside sequentially until it pulsated in my bones. After about an hour and a half this first experience began to subside, but not until six distinct layers had been addressed.

In all, I experienced five different events similar to this one over the course of a month and a half, with the majority being, more or less, a feeling of the pulsations I had felt in the first. The experiences culminated on the last.

Having gone through the senations of the four before, this one began not all too unfamiliar yet my mind still waged itself against the situation thinking maybe this time was it. Maybe it would be my last. Of any experience. My energy was at an all time low. Having been battered by the past four episodes, each well over an hour, there seemed little room to continue. This time something told me it would be a decisive point. A part of me hoped it would be, though it didn’t begin so well. The experiences that I could hold on to (even in the slightest) began to slip away as the energies rushing through my body began to change course. Even the slightest comfort gained from associating with any part of the experience had vanished. My mind had nothing to go on. I had no choice but to succumb. This time my body had to move. Even though I didn’t know if I would still be alive the next moment any resistance proved to make the experience worse. Lying on the bed, my body moved like a fish in water – seeming to help along the energies pushing up and through. All the while my wife, a yoga teacher and healer, guided me through breathing to provide any relief if possible. The energies surmounted as I grew weary. Weary from the months before, weary from this time, weary from the helplessness I felt. My body began to get very cold. Circulation began to drain out of my limbs, out of my head, hands, arms, toes, feet, legs, torso. It seemed it was a culmination point after all. My mind had come to its own conclusion. It was over. Seeing my skin turn white, my wife felt the need to push down on my stomach. As she pushed deeper and deeper, I tried every trick I could think of (even the bullshit ones) to try to pull myself out of what was happening. Breathing, meditation, phrases, focus, thoughts. Nothing worked. Nothing gave relief. As my wife pushed even deeper into me there seemed nothing left. At that moment I just began to sit up, a helpless terror running through me,  pulling my knees into my chest. At the same time and within fractions of a second, everything changed. A cool feeling came into the back of my neck. Blood flow seemed to reverse course filling my body in a way I had never felt – as if filled with blood for the first time. My nails had become pink, flush, overflowed with life. I closed my eyes and cried.

Tension had left my body. All tension – from my joints, ligaments, muscles, head, neck. I found myself in ecstasy sitting on the bed. Without a thought my legs bound up together beneath me in a posture I would have found impossible to complete just moments before. Again, without a thought, my hands started to come together in what seemed to be a celebration of using arms without tension or merely a celebration of moving them in the first place. As they neared about half a foot from each other they seemed to sync directly together as if a magnetism existed between them. The point here is that the magnetism was tactile – effortlessly binding my two hands together in a flawless symmetry. As straight as they were together, my fingers, too, had no tension. No pressure in my joints that I become accustomed, not even a flicker of resistance in my very skin.

As tears streamed down my face and eruptions of laughter came out I was in a position of full celebration. Celebrating what, I’m not sure. But it was a Celebration. And there was room to do it. There was time, there was space to do it. To take part. What would have taken my focus was gone. In fact, in the most revealing of circumstances, my thoughts were gone. Thought had left. What had plagued me for those months (years) had simply gone. The largest burden of it all didn’t lie in pressures of the body. Eventually it came time to open my eyes. The celebration had set its course and it just seemed about time to see. The beauty of the sensations had a sort of room itself as if it was all easily distinguishable as a whole just as much as it was to the most minute detail. It was sense of clarity, but all over.

On opening my eyes, I can simply say that I saw more. I saw light that one would assume to be invisible to the eye. I saw it emanate off the walls, from the eyes, around the room. I saw sensations of daylight in the middle of an artificially lit bedroom in the middle of the night. I felt day light that had existed the whole time. Spectrums of light that had existed the whole time. I began to smell, to sniff, to inspect the air around me. Even the air had another quality, an augemented quality – a depth I had not noticed. A depth that goes on being unnoticed. A warm summer air came into my nose, something that I can mostly describe as an ‘eternal spring’. It had the warmth, the comfort, of summer but the freshness of spring and it bound itself in the air around the room. Again, like it had been there all along – but just missed. Just out of reach. Just out of focus – even in the dead night of May.

In fact, that is what each sensation seemed to reveal. Each of these was available. Each of these was natural. Is natural. A natural occurrence of life. The air itself that I breathed seemed to have an intelligence of its own. Not having the mind constantly on I was able to perceive more of what was actually going on in the body. A sensation that did not stop at the skin but extended further. I felt the air as it came into my mouth, throat, lungs. Every course it took proved to show another dimension of character as if reacting to its location. The air itself was in communion or communication with the parts it touched – each moving together to acquire some end. The full notion itself, although being written now, is indescribable as if putting words to them would no longer get to the heart of how layered and blended the experiences revealed.

The insight gained through the experience is both massive and second nature at the same time. Comfortable and vast. In the 90 or more minutes when this ecstacy had taken place there were layers of insights, but all of which seem to blend together in a similar way. Just on the tip of our noses lies a world beyond belief. Nothing that we have to believe in, but something far greater than we could have imagined.

The works in this series are a culmination of my experiences. A union of time and an illumination of things that we might have just misunderstood. They embody aspects of life experience while alluding to principles that can invite it in personally for the viewer. In all, I hope they shed insight as to what’s possible with the right moment of pause – a testament from where true beauty comes.

Images

Sculptures

Prints

The Artist

✧  These images are made available for use in publications with attribution to the artist and for the purposes of sharing information on the collection.
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