The following is from a press release by News Travels Fast and the Boca Raton Museum of Art:

 

COSMIC WONDERS BY SILVERPOINT

Carol Prusa Probes the Mysteries of the Universe

and Honors the Women Astronomers

Who Mapped the Stars

Photo of artwork

Carol Prusa, Cosmic Web (for the Harvard Observatory Computers), 2018,

Silverpoint graphite titanium white, mars black, stainless steel pigment with acrylic binder

on acrylic dome with internal light. Courtesy of the artist.   

 

Carol Prusa: Dark Light

August 20 – January 19

at Boca Raton Museum of Art

 

As the world celebrates the 50th anniversary of the first landing on the moon, the Boca Raton Museum of Art pays tribute to this milestone year by charting a different course that stands out from the rest, with the new exhibition Carol Prusa: Dark Light. On this journey, the artist invites viewers to honor the women astronomers who originally helped map the stars as she takes flight across the mysteries of deep space.

 

Some of the pioneering women astronomers from the 1800s honored in this exhibition (left-to-right): Maria Mitchell Looking Through a Telescope, painting by Herminia B. Dassel, circa 1851, and Mitchell with her first all-women Astronomy class at Vassar College.

 

 

Her new exhibition is curated by Kathleen Goncharov, the Senior Curator of the Museum, and features never-before-seen works created specifically for this show – meticulous creations handmade by the artist using her signature silverpoint technique. The exhibition opens August 20 and remains on view until January 19. The artist, Carol Prusa, lives in Boca Raton and currently teaches painting as a Professor of Art at Florida Atlantic University.

 

Photo of artwork

 

“When we get too distracted by the details in our daily lives, that is when we particularly need artists like Carol Prusa to expand our horizons into the solar system, into the deeper unknown of dark space.” said Irvin Lippman, the Executive Director of the Boca Raton Museum of Art.

 

“As Carol explains, she has always been interested in science and cosmology. In the sixth grade she wondered about the Big Bang and ‘how it could be that there was nothing before there was something.’

 

Photo of artwork

Carol Prusa, Quintessence, Silverpoint, graphite, acrylic on acrylic hemisphere

with lens and internal video player/video, 2019

 

 

Prusa combines surprising materials such as sculpted resin, fiberglass, metal leaf, LED lights, black iron oxide, titanium, and powdered steel with the ancient craft of silverpoint, resulting in ethereal creations that command curiosity. Carol Prusa: Dark Light includes silverpoint, graphite and acrylic works on plexiglass and wood panels; light-speckled domes with internal lights and video.

“Carol Prusa is a visual alchemist whose work harnesses cosmic chaos and makes invisible forces materialize before our eyes,” writes Logan Royce Beitmen in the exhibition catalogue. “Drawing with actual silver and painting with powdered steel, Prusa’s use of materials defies expectations.”

 

      

 

Prusa created a new series of prints for this exhibition, honoring the contributions made to science and astronomy by women who spearheaded early efforts to map the heavens. She was inspired by the life and accomplishments of Maria Mitchell, the first woman elected into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (in 1848), and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (in 1850).

 

Maria Mitchell Looking Through a Telescope, painting by Herminia B. Dassel, circa 1851

 

Mitchell was a pioneering advocate for math and science education for girls and was the first female astronomy professor. In 1847, Mitchell was the first person ever to discover a comet via telescope that was too remote to see with the naked eye. Her discovery would be named “Miss Mitchell’s Comet.” King Frederick VI of Denmark had offered a prize for such first identifications of telescopic comets, and awarded her a gold medal.

She also became famous for leading her female astronomy students on expeditions to see eclipses in Iowa (1869) and in Denver (1878). Their observations would reach a national scientific audience. Her goal – bold at that time – was to encourage other women into her profession, at the dawn of America’s scientific age. Later astronomers honored her by naming a lunar crater “Mitchell Crater.”

 

Maria Mitchell poses with the first Astronomy class at Vassar College

from www.vcencyclopedia.vassar.edu/faculty/original-faculty/maria-mitchell1.html

 

 

Following in Mitchell’s footsteps to witness solar eclipses, Carol Prusa was inspired to create these new works by the life-changing effects she felt while witnessing eclipses in Nebraska and Chile.

Prusa’s favorite quote by Mitchell captures the spirit of this exhibition: “We seize only a little bit of the curtain that hides the infinite from us.

 

Carol Prusa, Totality, 2018, silverpoint, graphite, titanium white pigment with acrylic binder

on 1/4″ acrylic circle. Courtesy of the Artist.

 

 

There were many women astronomers throughout history who led the charge in the field of astronomy, but with little recognition. Prusa’s new suite of prints challenges this lapse by honoring these women astronomers: Maria Mitchell, Henrietta Swan Leavitt, Annie Jump Cannon, Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin, Vera Rubin, and Jocelyn Bell Burnell.

 

Maria Mitchell (seated) in her observatory at Vassar College, circa 1877.

Photo from “Heroes of Progress: Stories of Successful Americans” by Eva March Tappan, 1921.

 

 

The portfolio of new prints by Prusa is called Galaxias Kyklos (the Greek term for the Milky Way), and the title page gloriously depicts Ourania, the muse of astronomy in Greek mythology.

 

Photo of artwork

Carol Prusa, Ourania, 2019, from Galaxias Kyklos

(suite of prints in laser etched plexi box with letterpress colophon).

 

 

Other artworks in the exhibition are dedicated to women who served as human “computers” at the Harvard Observatory in the 19th century, painstakingly analyzing the many glass photographic plates from observatories around the world to map the stars.

The earnings of these women were substantially less than men in their field, and their labor too went unrecognized. Another woman scientist honored in this body of work is Rebecca Elson. She was a theoretical astrophysicist whose research focused on dark matter who died of lymphoma in 1999 at the young age of 39 and was also an accomplished poet.

 

 

Carol Prusa in Atacama, Chile, where she traveled to witness an eclipse.

 

 

“I am especially drawn to ideas and experiences that unsettle and coalesce in my art,” said Prusa. “Seeing a total eclipse for the first time, I was blown away by a euphoric feeling of floating, I was so moved that I literally fell backward.

“When the shadow of the eclipse passed over, the world changed in a way I had never experienced before. The sun became a sharp black disc, Venus popped out and the sky to my right was night and to my left it was day. I was compelled to create this body of work to come to terms with this overwhelming feeling,” adds Prusa.

The ethereal video below is part of the interior of one of the new artworks created for this exhibition: vimeo.com/353251363

 

Carol Prusa: Dark Light (video) from News Travels Fast on Vimeo.

 

 

ABOUT THE AGE-OLD MAGIC OF SILVERPOINT

The age-old method has been used by artists, scribes and artisans since ancient times. The silverpoint stylus itself is a small stick of silver inserted into a wooden rod, similar to a pencil (except silver is used instead of lead). Silverpoint drawings are created by making a mark on a surface with this rod or wire made out of silver.

The photographer Bruce Weber has proclaimed that Carol Prusa is “one of the most innovative artists working in metalpoint today.”

Prusa has always been fascinated by science and cosmology, and learned silverpoint technique while teaching in Florence. Some of Prusa’s inspiration comes from the sciences of astrophysics, meteorology, and optics. She also incorporates Russian Orthodox and Tibetan Buddhist art-making traditions that she studied in the 1990s.

 

 

Just one of these works can take thousands of hours to create depending on the work’s complexity and size. The artist worked for countless hours on each individual artwork in this exhibition. Like her cosmic subject matter, her process of artmaking is extremely detailed, vast, and is considered awe-inspiring by her peers.

Prusa was nominated by Judy Pfaff and chosen by the American Academy of Arts and Letters as one of only 40 artists to exhibit in the 2015 Invitational Exhibition of Visual Arts, NYC (the selection committee that year was chaired by Eric Fischl).

“My practice becomes for me like a form of meditation that leads to bliss, like a Buddhist prayer,” said Carol Prusa. “The time-intensive process expands my introspection and reverie about our universe.”

Prusa’s work begins with her process of reading and research, but resolves with a tone of strange beauty encapsulating what it feels like to be alive.

 

 

Silverpoint itself is reminiscent of mercury, a liquid, and for Prusa, these works reflect the alchemical and transformational nature of art. She hopes viewers will pause and consider the abundance and fertility of life and how all things are interconnected.

Prusa studied embryology as part of her original training to become a medical illustrator, which she abandoned once she became an artist instead.

All of the works in this show have circular motifs, spheres that Prusa intended to spark a sense of infinity for the viewer. Although circles and spherical openings may imply feminine forms, Prusa has also created embryonic works that represent pure potential not limited to gender – like the pioneer women astronomers who transcended gender bias of their time to help create the maps of space that helped make the first landing on the moon a possibility for humanity.

 

Carol Prusa, (Detail) Nebula, 2019, Silverpoint, graphite, acrylic on acrylic dome

with internal light. Courtesy of the artist.

 

 

“When I started to make this new series about eclipses, I drew upon my powerful memories of what it felt like to witness these astronomical wonders,” said Prusa. “An eclipse is dark light.”

 

Black, no matter how dark, still reflects light. I wanted to make black have depth and structure, and to be infinite. The eclipses influenced me in this respect, but this could also be a reflection on the times we live in. There isn’t dark without light ─ or light without dark.

 

Carol Prusa, Dark Light (Elegy for Rebecca Elson), 2019,

Silverpoint, graphite, acrylic on wood panel. Courtesy of the artist.

 

 


SPECIAL EVENTS

MEMBERS MIDSUMMER “COSMOS” PARTY & OPENING RECEPTION

Tuesday, August 20, 2019 (6:00-8:00 p.m.) RSVP required by August 13. Free for Members (Non-Member price: $25.00) Celebrate the exhibition opening of Carol Prusa: Dark Light with live DJ, light bites, and libations. Members Midsummer “Cosmos” Party is part of Boca Chamber Festival Days – a series of fun-filled events held at different locations during the month of August – and is facilitated by the Boca Chamber. Purchase tickets here

CAROL PRUSA: DARK LIGHT (Lecture)

Thursday, September 5 (6:00-7:00 p.m.) Florida Atlantic University professor Carol Prusa explores the liminal space between knowing and not knowing, a location artists and scientists share. She discusses her artwork in the exhibition Dark Light and the research and events that gave rise to this new body of work.

Free for Members. (Non-Member Price: $15.00). Purchase tickets here


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Media Contacts: Jose Lima and Bill Spring, 305-910-7762, jose@newstravelsfast.com

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spiritual self-development

For many people, the idea of self-development means exercising, eating right and getting enough rest. But not enough of us have heard of, or practice, spiritual self-care. For those who have, it’s easy to think that it is related to reading biblical texts, participating in worship services and observing rituals.

 

Spiritual self-care, however, encompasses all that. It is the practice of connecting to whatever is meaningful and holy to you. Spirituality can be found everywhere and with anyone and once you start embracing spiritual self-care as part of self-development, you’ll be able to enjoy these benefits in your life:

 

 

Re-Discover your Purpose and Meaning

We are all trying to keep up with this fast-paced world that we live in, don’t we? It’s so easy to get caught up in the middle of taking care of the family, doing well in a job and living up to other people’s expectations that you lose sight of what’s your purpose and meaning.

 

Spiritual self-care brings you back to that state of awareness and let you channel your energy towards things that matter most to you and not what the world is telling you to be.

 

 

Improve your Relationships

Do you often find yourself fighting with your spouse? Are you becoming more reluctant to spend time with friends? Stress and exhaustion can easily affect your relationships, but you can always turn things around by practicing spiritual self-care.

 

Taking the time to practice meditation can already do a lot to reduce your stress while doing yoga regularly aligns you with your inner self again, which can help you improve your relationships in the long run.

 

 

Identify the Things that Make you Genuinely Happy

You may be living in a huge house, driving a nice car and wearing the most expensive bag, but none of that will make you genuinely happy. Take time out of your day to go for a walk or spend the weekend outdoors.

 

Research shows that walking is beneficial to your mental health because it allows you to slow down and be present. You’ll also gain a sense of clarity on what makes you happy so you can focus your energy on them and not on material things that will only provide you fleeting joy.

 

 

Clear your Space

You meet a lot of people every day and you share conversations that can affect your energy at some point.

 

If you were to achieve self-development, you need to maintain a clear space around you through meditation and smudging, which uses cedar, incense or sage to clear your space.

 

 

Life is beautiful if you just let it be. While you’re surrounded by so many stressors and you’re living in a world that’s more fast-paced than ever before, you can still find that inner peace and good mental health by practicing spiritual self-care and taking the time to love yourself more.

 

By investing in self-development, you can also radiate your happiness to others and be able to love others better.

cosmic yoga mat

We all need a respite from the hustle and bustle of our daily life. We try to travel, dine out, spend time with friends or just be lazy at home. But none of these seem to give us that much-needed refresh from deep within.

 

Then, there’s yoga, an ancient combination of physical, mental and spiritual practices that originated in India.

 

Using a cosmic yoga mat from our store, and getting into different postures or “asanas” has got everyone from regular people to celebrities hooked on yoga, and for good reason. Aside from the obvious benefits of relaxation and even weight loss, yoga can also do these four things for your life:

 

 

Sense of Mindfulness

 

Living in this day and age can easily get you distracted because of everything that’s being thrown at you. But doing yoga on a cosmic yoga mat brings you back that sense of mindfulness where you can re-focus your attention on the things that are in the present.

 

Yoga has been known to increase mindfulness in all aspects of your life including eating habits. Mindful eating means enjoying your food rather than just eating for the sake of eating. People who practice yoga have been found out to have a deeper appreciation of food including its smell, feel and taste. They also do better at managing cravings, which help them stay healthy and fit.

 

 

 

Better Immune System

 

Practicing yoga is known to make you fit. But what you might not know is that being on that cosmic yoga mat can help stimulate your genes. According to a research study from the University of Oslo, practicing yoga for at least two hours stimulates 111 genes that help regulate immune cells as opposed to walking that only stimulates 38 genes.

 

 

 

An Appreciation of Body Image

 

The pressure to look good has never been more intense today, which is why a lot of people focus too much on physical appearance rather than inner beauty. But yoga changes that perspective completely by making you more aware of the strength of your mind and body. If you’ve ever been in a yoga studio, you’ll notice that there are no mirrors or the lighting is dark all to create an inner awareness rather than an outer awareness of how you look on your cosmic yoga mat.

 

 

 

Improvement in Cardiovascular Health

 

Several studies have proven that yoga can help improve cardiovascular health and reduce cardiovascular risk factors. For instance, it helps regulate blood pressure in people who have hypertension and it improves lipid profiles in patients with coronary artery diseases.

 

Practicing yoga is also included in several cardiac rehabilitation programs because of its benefits.

 

Yoga has been practiced for hundreds of years because it works. Aside from offering you these amazing health and wellness benefits, yoga is also an act of self-care and self-love, which we all badly need in a time when the world seems to revolve so fast.

spirituality and health

Life has never been more fast-paced than it is today. And in the middle of it all, it’s easy to find yourself struggling to find your inner peace and wellbeing. Of course, your health also suffers in the long run, especially if you don’t make time to take care of yourself.

 

The journey to wellbeing through spirituality and health has long been a cause of discussion in the medical world, and studies have proven that spirituality has an important role to play in promoting health and healing.

 

 

Defining Spirituality

There is no one definition of spirituality because it can mean different things from one person to the other. Some may see spirituality as being part of a religious organization while others may treat it as a non-religious practice.

 

Still, others may look at spirituality as a combination of both religious and non-religious practices. But while definitions may vary, one thing’s for sure: spirituality brings a higher purpose into a person’s life.

 

 

Role of Spirituality in Health

With the debate on the correlation between spirituality and health, studies have been conducted to closely examine the impact of spiritual practices in boosting health and they revealed that:

 

 

Spirituality can help Depression

 

Depression is one of the most common and devastating mental illnesses in the world, and it is mostly triggered when someone starts to isolate themselves.

 

Most spiritual practices, however, encourage social engagement and being involved in activities such as volunteering or attending yoga classes pulls a depressed person out of isolation and offers them a more positive environment where depression cannot thrive.

 

 

Spirituality can Restore a Sense of Purpose

 

Sometimes, health conditions are just physical manifestations of spiritual problems. Proof of this is how stress is a common predisposing factor in many illnesses including hypertension and heart disease.

 

With spiritual counseling, a chaplain will help an affected individual to deal with the stresses of their life through acceptance and finding ways to turn their weaknesses into strengths. This helps restore their sense of purpose and thus, keeps them emotionally healthier, which in turn could lead to better physical health.

 

 

Spirituality Boosts the Immune System

 

The world is filled with a ton of stressors, most of which one cannot control. And when stress becomes too much, it takes a toll on one’s immune system and may lead to different health and mental issues that affect an individual’s quality of life.

 

However, it has been found that practicing spiritual activities such as praying, meditating or spending time with nature can help boost the immune system to fight illnesses or help an individual recover from an existing health condition.

 

 

Spirituality and health are at the end of the day, intertwined with each other. They are both important aspects of life and one benefits the other to promote wellbeing in an individual. This is why spiritual healthcare is now introduced in the medical setting because it has been proven that offering empathy and support to a patient has a huge impact to their prognosis and quality of life in the long run.

 

 

medicine bag

The Native American culture is as rich as its people. Throughout the centuries, Native Americans thrived because of how they value their traditions including the objects they use for everyday life.

 

One of the most important accessories in Native American culture is the medicine bag, which was used mostly by a Shaman or medicine man. Medicine bags are considered sacred and special by Native Americans because they hold different objects such as amulets and herbal medications that are used by the Shaman for healing the sick or offering protection and strength for soldiers who will go to battle.

 

 

The Shaman and their Medicine Bag

 

A Shaman is regarded in Native American culture as a person with access and influence in the world of good and evil spirits. Shamans are believed to enter an altered state of consciousness to interact with the spirit world and offer healing and good energy into the human world.

 

Medicine bags are considered an important part of a Shaman’s life because they serve as a container for sacred objects used in practice. This includes objects from the plant, animal and mineral kingdoms as well as from human life. Medicine bags are usually made from the pelts of beavers, panthers, raccoons, otters or reptiles and are traditionally worn under the clothing.

 

Native Americans believe that the contents of a medicine bag are extremely private and should symbolize tribal identity and wellbeing. Paint may also be included in the medicine bag to be used by the Shaman to paint mystical markings on warriors that are believed to give them more power and make them invincible.

 

med bag

 

The Native American and their Personal Medicine Bag

 

Aside from being used by a Shaman, medicine bags are also given to boys who start their spiritual journey at the age of fifteen or as they enter into manhood. In a rite of passage, the boy enters a vision quest where his spirit guide will be revealed in the form of a power animal that has walked with him throughout his life.

 

After this revelation, the Shaman talks about the meaning of the boy’s spirit guide and provide him with a personal medicine bag that contains different symbolic items that are related to their spiritual journey and those that will protect him during his lifetime. This medicine bag is then closed and only very seldom opened.

 

It is usually worn around the neck and when the bearer dies, the bag is buried together with the symbol of his guardian spirit. This medicine bag is regarded as an important part of every Native American’s life because it is believed to keep them safe and offer them increased strength in battle.

 

 

The medicine bag is definitely a symbol of faith and tradition not only in Shamanism but also in the Native American culture in general. This is why this tradition has been kept alive for many centuries because it is believed to be one of the things that ancestors have passed down to the younger generations to keep them safe.