William Fields

 Artist Statement


     My art is the culmination of forty years of effort and meditation. I have spent much of my adult life immersed in the study and contemplation of the esoteric sciences. Buddhism, Hermetic Science, Gnostic Christianity, Kabbalah, and Shiva Tantra represent the core of teachings that are the focus of my work. A visual transmission flowing from these spiritual forms of seeing and understanding guide my art making process.

     The Line forms the backbone and is the essence of my work. By following and understanding the prominent lines within a work, one unlocks the secrets of the unfolding of its ideas. Within the Line lie the all the potential directions a work might take. Visible or invisible, it is the Line that carries the work to its final culmination, the ultimate resolution.

     Line is life; everything in life seems to move in a line. Consciousness and evolution itself develops along certain lines. This mystical aspect of Line is active and observable in Nature as well as in Art.

The aesthetic of my work is derived through a synthesis of Eastern and Western line, and the color evolves from an aetheric spectrum of chromatic values. Much of the symbology in the work relates to the spirits of Earth, Air, Fire, and Water that exist in the Zone girdling the Earth, and within our Solar System.

-   William Randolph Fields


“In his contributions to this ambitious group effort, Fields relied on the approach he has developed and refined over more than 40 years. Employing his favored mediums, color pencil and pastel crayon, he portrayed the 12 principal Jupiter genii as elaborately multifaceted figures set off against seemingly vast, otherworldly landscapes. For all of them he used a panoramic, 31-by-41-inch format that allowed him to give as much attention to the settings as to the figures themselves. They’re consistently strong compositions, deriving much of their power from his tightly controlled line and his extravagant color schemes. The imagery is visually seductive and fundamentally recognizable despite the profoundly alien nature of the subject matter.

Most of the central figures are structural composites, with multiple heads, faces, torsos and other body parts. They suggest hyper-aware life-forms enacting perpetual transformation, internally charged with super-organic energy. Some of them wear elaborate feathered or winged headgear, some wield special ritual implements, some have prominent third eyes and most of them sport braided chin beards--spirit beards, Fields calls them. Small animals emerge from the upper crania of some figures, and others have snakelike tongues flickering out of their mouths, as if to signify special levels of awareness and powers of communication. Viewed in profile or frontally, the faces appear alert and focused, but they’re otherwise inscrutable, as befits superhuman beings.

In rendering the multi-dimensional landscapes where the Jupiter genii make their appearances before him, Fields employs a range of devices to represent the collapse of the time/space dichotomy and the coincidence of parallel worlds. Although the ostensible setting for the drawings is Jupiter, most of them also incorporate views of Pilot Mountain, a striking natural landmark on Earth, only 25 miles north of Winston- Salem. Visible from the neighborhood where Fields, Ruckman and Taylor live, Pilot’s treeless dome of quartz, slate and mica rises to nearly 3,000 feet and is located on public land. One of the world’s oldest mountains, it was known to the region’s Saura Indians as Jomeokee, meaning “great guide.” The three artists consider it a power place, and they conducted some of their ritual activities for this project in secluded areas near its dome. The ravens that glide around and congregate on the mountain inspired the emblematic flying-raven silhouettes in several of Fields’ drawings.

Lingams--phallic symbols signifying divine potency--also appear in Fields’ drawings. These stylized, columnar forms are specifically associated with the Hindu god Shiva, to whom Fields has long been devoted. Other recurring motifs include a variety of traditionally derived celestial emblems--discs, crescents and cartouches decorated with mysterious hieroglyphics transcribed directly from his visions of Jupiter. The checkerboard grids in the drawings titled Crystal Magus and Emanation call to mind magic squares, the numerically labeled grids associated with ancient Vedic rituals as well as Hermetic planetary-image magic. Passages of collage are also integral to several of the drawings, in each case serving as autobiographical references. The floral- patterned breastplate worn by the spirit Hanael as portrayed in Causation, for example, is antique lace embroidery from Fields’ maternal grandmother’s wedding dress. In another such homage to his family, the lower left corner of Hermetic Impulse features a cutout photo-portrait of his uncle Henri Black, an opera aficionado and the first member of Fields’ family with an interest in the arts. Snapshot-size photographs of Fields and Ruckman in the 1980s have been cut into disc shapes, decoratively embellished and inserted into the drawing Gnostic Dawn, while a recent group photograph of all three artists has been similarly treated in De Profundis, the final drawing in the series.”

-Tom Patterson