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The title of the exhibit and the imagery are rooted in Mason Steeves’ pilgrimage in 2007 to Turkey to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the birth of the Sufi poet and mystic, Rumi. As a potter turns the wheel to center the clay, so the Sufi Dervishes whirl around the axes of their hearts. The heart is the center of their turning. Like the clay pot transformed through fire, Rumi said we must be transformed by the intense fire of love.
Through this line of contemplation, Mason Steeves came upon the vessel as an iconic image that distilled the essence of her journey to Turkey. Mason Steeves explores the relationship between a three-dimensional space and a plane, painting on a heavily patterned surface that overlays an image of a light-filled vessel. After applying surface patterning, the artist applies paint with her hands, and then wipes the darker pigment away to expose the light underneath. This procedure of uncovering can be seen on another level: as a process of self-discovery between the surface and depths of one’s being. Below the surface is an inner world, like the goal in a visual quest.