Distributed by the University of Nebraska Press for Whale and Star Press
Alchemy of Light offers an intimate look at the aesthetic world Mary Conover forms from the disparate influences of her life, the Jungian heritage, and the ineffable presence of the sea. The book explores the relationship between the wild and empty places where Conover works and her ideas about the world and her place in it. In palimpsest-like abstractions, she locates the search for self in the beauty and danger of untamed water and implacable desert.
Alchemy of Light mirrors the artist's alchemical process of acceptance and transmutation by presenting, without hierarchy, intricate personal notebooks, works in progress, influential writings, accomplished paintings in oil, collage, and digital photomontage. Conover tracks the seductions of risk in her peripatetic life. She describes how slowly acquiring the disciplines of yoga and meditation provided a structure for investigating consciousness in her work, with light as the primary metaphor. Collectively, the images and text in Alchemy of Light create a relevant portrait of an artist who transcends current trends in abstraction by the power of an internal vision.
Robert A. F. Thurman is the Jey Tsong Khapa Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies in the Department of Religion at Columbia University. Enrique Martinez Celaya is Visiting Presidential Professor at the University of Nebraska and the author of The Blog: Bad Time for Poetry. Susan Landauer is the Katie and Drew Gibson Chief Curator at the San Jose Museum of Art in San Jose, California. Kathleen Loe is an artist, writer, and curator based in New Orleans. Stuart Shils is a plein-air painter and has exhibited work in solo exhibitions in New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, as well as in Israel and Ireland. Carol Anthony's images are drafted layer by layer to create an unearthly light and dreamlike quality through which she conveys her internal visions.