top of page

Deborah Kolp

Portrait and Expressionism

What do expressionist artists Klee and Kandinsky, Pavel Florensky (physicist, iconographer and Orthodox priest), Rick Reuben (former Beastie Boy and music producer) have in common?

An example is found in Florensky’s essay, “On the Crossroads of Science and Mysticism” which includes Kandinsky’s interpretation of painting music. It also is here where Paul Klee’s thoughts on line, structure, chromatic energy and balance are explored. These elements, arranged by the creative process, have the capacity to open up a hidden world. As the theologian, Hans Urs Von Balthassar points out… the transcendentals of ‘truth and goodness’ become secondary to ‘beauty’ in the service of higher states of awareness.

These same ideas are foundational to both Kandinsky’s desire to paint music and the iconographer’s purpose- to open a window into heaven through symbolic color and variations of movement or stillness. As the iconographer explains… It is while asleep the subconscious asserts itself in ethereal symbols drenched with meaning (Carl Jung and Rick Reuben would agree). The role of the artist is alchemist- pulling down these mysteries from a higher realm into concrete forms.

Hildegard of Bingen, a 15th century German nun, echoes these concepts but adds the ideology of micro and macrocosms. We can interpret her wisdom as the mirroring of universals to particulars…patterns large and small united in Divine Presence. She synthesized contemplative prayer with theatre, music and mystical mandalas.

Finally, there is the voice of Rick Reuben who as a producer plays the role of midwife to musicians. He listens deeply to the individual artist and the culture at large. In that process he brings to birth the sounds of each into our collective consciousness.

These persons have validated what resonates most deeply within me revealing itself in my own creative process. I believe everything hinges on the ability to see which is why I pursue continued training in the arts alongside spiritual awareness. In both categories there is a lineage of those who have gone before my life, providing a bottomless ground to build on.

“Now we see a dim reflection, as if we were looking into a mirror, but then we shall see clearly. Now I know only in part, but then I will know fully, as God has known me.” -1 Corinthians 13:12

Deborah Kolp
bottom of page