the mystery of transition, a space between stories

“Our civilization is entering a profound transition. For simplicity, I call it a transition from the story of Separation to the story of Interbeing.”  Charles Eisenstein

Two years ago I started revisiting older artworks taking new media, time and attention to them in order to speak to the concept of transformation.

Transformation: a thorough or dramatic change in form or appearance.

Something must live in a state of transition before it embodies full transformation.  In art-making, and even life there may or may not be one static place that a form lands on or in.

When you enter into a place where change must occur there is a breakdown process. Maybe that entry is a full on blowout or an abrupt shake-up. It could be a slow burning decomposition breathing deeply into the disquieting space of uncertainty. Whatever a transitional process looks like – it is not what it was and not what it might become, it is a space between stories and it has potential.

Art is a metaphor for life in that it holds the energy of time and place into form and can also be changeable. It has a story of who you were, where you were, who was with you and how it came to be in the world at that moment it was created. It is visual communication.

An asymmetrical mandala is a beautiful metaphor for a space between stories…in this case, art that once read as one story when reveisted becomes another.

breakdown mandala transfrmative art e izzo

“Breakdown” a mixed media paper collage asymmetrical mandala. Transformational artwork, wherein one image migrates into another. Begun 1990s- completed 2019. by Elizabeth Izzo


Depending on how you orient yourself to asymmetrical mandalas or choose your perspective for seeing it, is relational to what story emerges from it. 

Art is a map, an archive, a record. Once this paper quilt (pictured) was not this image you now see before you. It held the story of what was back when it was first created in the 1990’s.

For the sake of moving through my own stories and taking them into new transformational ones, I gave attention to artworks (including this mandala) integrating my current energy into new form without certainty for the outcome. Not knowing what they would become, but accepting that change, completion or even resolution needed to emerge, I encountered the space between stories.

Taking energy into older artworks is unique because the original piece carries the old story embedded within the media, materials and choices that the artist once made. It is not absent of the old story – only transformed into a new one with all the older parts remaining – no longer fully transparent.

Known to the tellers of the story and to the listeners of the story being told, transition has witness and is vitally alive through its process of change. 

This post was written partly in response to an inquiry for reflection in conjunction with enrollment in Findhorn Foundation’s Living The New Story workshop.

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