The Early Years: 1969 – 1978, New York City; 1978 - 1987, Connecticut. 

Vivid, direct inspiration was drawn from New York’s flourishing jazz culture and from the emerging feminist art movement. 

The racial and gender unrest and injustice worked on her young soul – essential rites of passage. Art and music were ways for her to explore the conflicts in a way that is true for her, arising from a creative core oriented toward justice, harmony, and beauty.

“I converged with the power and passion of the growing feminist art movement and the vibrant, radical jazz culture. Feminism and jazz had an intensity and potency that resonated with my own – and opened me to an awareness of gender, racial, and economic challenges.”

“I did become an angry feminist for a while. My reading was composed of prose and poetry by feminist allies – radical writers, storytellers and dramatists. Women artists were significantly ‘invisible’ to the historical mainstream and it was necessary for young women of my generation to make the anger a red-hot fuel for evolution. It was essential that the anger be alchemized into forms of creativity and self-actualization – activating others, liberating others, becoming catalysts for change – removers of obstacles!”

“I became aware of political events and activities and joined my voice to the call for freedom. I am not a political activist or an artist with political themes. I create art that affirms life and spirit.”

Two images encountered in 1971 were seminal for Ami’s growth and direction as a young artist: an image of the atomic pattern at the tip of aplatinum needle enlarged 750,000 times by a field ion microscope; and a Tantric Sri Yantra showing the frequency patterns of diminishing harmonics of source emanations – a geometrical meditation ‘map’.

Thus began a life-long experiment with the microcosm and the macrocosm – both are ‘seen’ only with powerful modern technology. ‘Experiencing’ them demands another level of ‘technology’ – art and our activated and re-calibrated imaginations.

Unique cultural practices that were significant from early on – or became seminal over time – include: Native American ceremonial art; Tibetan ritual art; cathedral rose windows; mandalas; chakra symbols; yantras; sacred geometry, and quilts.

Artist ‘mentors’ who were significant and grounding include:  Judy Chicago; Rothko; Georgia o’keeffe; Matisse; Monet; van Gogh; Kandinsky; Chagall; and Anselm Keifer – more for their strength, courage, and commitment than for their technical means of conveying meaning and purpose.

‘I have no direct mentor-teachers for the way I paint. I was aware of experimentation with grids, op art, geometric abstraction, color fields, ‘symbolism’ and abstract expressionism. Again, I had to find my own way – creating ‘maps’ for my own evolution. For the sake of articulation, I identify my work as: geometrical-lyrical-expressive.’

Many of her paintings are all or partially grided. She experimented with shifting grids and patterns, and with creating geometries that relate to dynamic forms in nature and to sacred geometries.

Paint was applied as thin veils – from the first layers until the last – so that colors and patterns shine through and mingle.

Experiments with black and white photography became integral to the evolving paintings. Clothed dancers were photographed in outdoor settings. The resulting images were simplified to become the foundations for paintings as the figures were overlaid with patterns that partially of fully dissolved the figures.

Ami created interior environments where a single, strong light source shone through loosely crocheted or knitted afghans onto a nude female figure. This was the vehicle for patterns of light to echo the body’s curves and volumes. She lifted the light patterns up and out and allowed the body to fall away. The light patterns became further patterns within the paintings – dancing forms became starry constellations (the macrocosm), subatomic configurations (the microcosm), or generative archetypes (beyond time and space).

The art began to summon from the unseen realms the crystalline geometries and matrices underlying life as they condense into form and expression.


The Middle Years: 1987 – 2005, England

Each move since Soho has been met as an opportunity to grow and evolve as an artist, as a human being. Motherhood and eighteen years in England were both further rites of passage for integrating previously unrecognized life dimensions. The youth-fuelled exuberance expanded to include relational and planetary ecology.

The move to England in 1987 brought her into contact with the remaining traces of the Celtic and Druidic ancient cultures glowing from within and beneath the modern technological-scientific overlay.

Learning to create from out of the paradoxes of ancient earth-based cultures and modern physical science-based cultures was essential for ongoing artistic grounding and growth.

Travels to Brittany further anchored awareness of megalithic art, mythology, and sacred sites.

In Tuscany, Etruscan art and artefacts were encountered and the Renaissance riches of Florence were revisited.

In Normandy, monastic life was met via Gregorian chants and the rose windows of Amiens cathedral inspired an ongoing artistic theme of flaming, flowing flowers – the fruit of a seed planted during a 1976 visit to Chartres cathedral, and an intensification of the early mandala motifs.

Increasing participation in eastern spiritual practices via yoga invited chakra symbolism into her painting. The flow of images from the Hubble Telescope revealed ever greater resonance between the macro and the micro.

The large acrylic paintings created during these years are known for their jewel-like shimmering colors. The small watercolors are known for their luminosity and devotional qualities.

Meeting the poetic meditations of Rudolf Steiner during the Millennial New Year signified a leap in her artistic and spiritual orientation. She attained an Art Foundation Certificate from the Tobias School of Art and Art Therapy, followed by a two year immersion in Art Therapy training. Modules in stone carving, storytelling, clay modelling, and metamorphosis expanded her artistic palette significantly. During this time ami was also integrating teaching Yoga, Buddhist compassion practices, serving in a hospice, and serving in a cancer support hospital unit.

In 2003 she received a postgraduate MaHA – Master of Health and the Arts – a meeting and mutual empowering of the Healing Arts and the Creative Arts.


The Mature Years: 2005 – and into the future, New Mexico

Knowing that her two sons had blossomed, claimed their roots, and spread their wings, Ami moved to the Sangre de Christo Mountains of the American Southwest. The studio is nestled in a valley between Santa Fe and Taos and is within reach of Ghost Ranch where Georgia O’Keefe lived and created in her maturity.

Having emerged from the art therapy training – a temporary sacrifice of her fine artist identity – Ami began the alchemy of recalibrating herself as a fine artist who had entered deeply into the healing potential of art and the numerous artistic mediums that become conduits for healing.

Early work primarily explored states of consciousness and was a commitment to make the invisible visible – a bold, direct experience for the viewer – and a map of the arc of becoming from the guiding archetypes all the way into the three dimensional Earth plane.

The B&W photos of female dancers were transformed into dancers inside the colors and patterns of the paintings. The nude figures with light patterns projected onto their bodies became patterns of light that remember the body – yet do not portray the physical body. There is a paradox here, in that it can also be said that the light shines from the center of the body outward – dancing the light from the inside out.

The move to the American Southwest revealed a latent connection with Native American dancers who wear fabulous costumes of color, pattern and texture. The dancers are inside the color – inside the drumming and singing. Paradoxically, they are dancing the color from the inside out.

Flamenco dancers, Native American dancers, Eurythmists in the silken veils are inside the colors – the physical body is not a focus.

Since 2000, the work has expanded to include intensified conscious soul expression via crystalline watercolors, and beginning to practice a vibrant, translucent Renaissance egg glaze technique.

Recent projects include: stone sculpting, woodcarving, stained glass panels, table, watercolors for a 2014 soul calendar, a Sophianic triptych (acrylic on large linen panels), cofounding an arts guild in Santa Fe, and high-altitude Biodynamic gardening and beekeeping. 

Collaborating with a local architect in 2007, Ami built a solar-powered studio-home called Dancing Colors, an adobe octagon made from local earth and timber. Dancing Colors is dedicated to the spectrum of the arts –  primarily painting and movement. Sacred geometry and ceremony have been woven into it since conception. The studio is surrounded by gardens, forests, a river, and a geodesic greenhouse – and is consecrated to the Nature Spirits, the Elementals, and honey bees.

Expressed from the vantage of maturity, Ami’s purpose is: to generate an awareness of art as an activity of conscious evolution; to create art bridging to the natural tendency of evolution toward higher resonance and fulfillment; and to foster art as a transformative activity in a participatory universe.

“The art of women has been relatively invisible in our culture. I honor women’s creativity so that a balance comes about – that the invisible becomes visible!”

‘My life purpose involves balancing and transforming the death forces of dense materialism that have prevailed in our time – when density limits or imprisons us, freedom in only remotely possible. Freedom is the calling I respond to. Freedom extends beyond – yet does not exclude – political, social, and economic justice and equality. 

The work involves creating a new, resilient, more permeable world. In my life this is, and has been, an apprenticeship to art, beauty, and freedom – for the eventual flowering of each person’s crystalline light body!”

Ami Spangler



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