Michael Prim's abstract-expressionist oil paintings engage us in the sense of cosmic mysteries, of familiar, yet unsettling kinship with different worlds and realities. Reactions include "I felt haunted by this art," "I don’t know how you do it, but I can somehow see the invisible," and "beautiful and compelling, disturbing and peaceful." Many viewers are drawn back to a particular painting that seems to speak a relevant language to them, so powerful are these paintings.

3 paintings

For Prim, the need to create is, in part, genetic, hard-wired: he can remember asking his father, a glass-blower and neon-sign maker, how he knew how to draw. "I just do it," was his father’s reply, and not until an intensely painful experience in 1987 did Prim truly understand. His immediate response to psychic trauma was, simply, to draw and paint - as an integral part of the healing, growth, and understanding journey.

His physical work in creating the paintings is a process that parallels the many levels of consciousness that his paintings hold: colors go on the canvas first, and then Prim applies tubes and tubes of, usually blue or black paints...and he then excavates the painting underneath, removing, by brush or knife, the thick outer layers, seeing what is concealed and revealed. The result, in many of his paintings, is a very textured, almost three-dimensional canvas that vibrates and resonates.

The titles of Prim’s paintings reveal his diverse (some would say "eclectic," but he would simply say that everything in the universe is connected) interests: physics and mathematics, classical music, art, philosophy, literature: "Morphogenetic Space: Homage to Goethe," Kundalini"Mindscape X: African Woman in Astral Ascent," "Ethereal Lights," "Homage to Klee," "Memories, Dreams, and Reflections" (Jungian influence), and "Diving into Infinity or the Electromagnetic Deoxyribonucleic Acid Trip."

"Kundalini," for example, reveals the ancient Indian yoga concept of kundalini: sexual energy used in obtaining cosmic enlightenment. This heavily-textured 48"x24" work is predominately cerulean blue and Prussian blue and black, but with vibrant purples, lilacs, greens, whites, yellows, oranges, and reds that seem to pulsate. The piece creates the process by which one reaches kundalini: meditation and restraint from sexual activity until one reaches a state where the coiled sexual energy is directed from the base of the spine, up through the spine’s wheels (chakras), to the brain itself--and one reaches cosmic enlightenment. However, kundalini involves the physical body’s role in reaching Oneness with the Universe; the painting suggests both the state of enlightenment and the anatomical mapping of the body.

© Michael W Prim 2001 | design/programming: Scott Reston