Visionary art is art that purports to transcend the physical world and portray a wider vision of awareness including spiritual or mystical themes, or is based in such experiences. The artist’s mission is to make the soul perceptible. Our scientific, materialist culture trains us to develop the eyes of outer perception. Visionary art encourages the development of our inner sight. To find the visionary realm, we use the intuitive inner eye: The eye of contemplation; the eye of the soul. All the inspiring ideas we have as artists originate here.
The visionary artist Alex Grey writes:
The visionary realm embraces the entire spectrum of imaginal spaces; from heaven to hell, from the infinitude of forms to formless voids. The psychologist James Hillman calls it the imaginal realm. Poet William Blake called it the divine imagination. The aborigines call it the dreamtime; and Sufis call it alam al-mithal. To Plato, this was the realm of the ideal archetypes. The Tibetans call it the sambhogakaya; the dimension of inner richness. Theosophists refer to the astral, mental, and nirvanic planes of consciousness. Carl Jung knew this realm as the collective symbolic unconscious. Whatever we choose to call it, the visionary realm is the space we visit during dreams and altered or heightened states of consciousness.
Every sacred art tradition begins with the visionary. “Divine canons of proportion,” mystic syllables, and sacred writing were all realized when the early wisdom masters and artists received the original archetypes through visionary contact with the divine ground. After a sacred archetype has been given form as a work of art, it can act as a focal point of devotional energy. The artwork becomes a way for viewers to access or worship the associated transcendental domain. In sacred art, from calligraphy to icons, the work itself is a medium: a point of contact between the spiritual and material realms.
The Vienna School of Fantastic Realism, first established in 1946, is considered to be an important technical and philosophical catalyst in its strong influence upon contemporary visionary art. Its artists included Ernst Fuchs, Rudolf Hausner , Arik Brauer, Wolfgang Hutter and Anton Lehmden among others. Several artists who would later work in visionary art trained under Fuchs, including Mati Klarwein, Robert Venosa, Philip Rubinov Jacobson and De Es Schwertberger.
Founded by Brigid Marlin serves as an important portal for visionary art events. More recently, a new wave of visionary artists collaborates to function as modern cooperatives involved in self-publishing and promotion of visionary artists through the internet and via festivals such as Burning Man and Boom Festival, and exhibition/ritual spaces such as Tribe 13, Temple of Visions, Psychedelic Dream Temple, Synergenesis and the Interdimensional Art Movement.
The Vienna Academy of Visionary Art revives classical techniques of painting while pursuing art as the expression of beauty, spirit and vision. To transmit an in-depth practice of painterly technique, our school follows the established model of the Academy system, while also promoting individual creativity through the pursuit of Visionary Art.