Meet 2024 Spiritual Grant Recipient Abi Ogle

MOFSA is pleased to announce that the recipient of our major 2024 Spiritual Art Grant in the amount of $10,000 is Abi Ogle.

Abi Ogle uses unexpected materials to explore loss and hope. Her art practice is built on the belief that art makes us more human, that materials matter, and that if we take the time to listen to the stories of others, they change us. She began making artwork to diffuse the weight of living as a hopeful, tangible response to grief. She believes that artwork gives us a glimpse of something beyond ourselves, something that reminds us that this broken world is not all we hope for. Abi is deeply curious and dedicated to bringing attention to the mundane or easily ignored. She desires to humbly engage with the life that is present around her, to thoughtfully listen to the cries of those who are mourning, and to make artwork that enables conversations of healing. 

Abi’s explorations are a result of numerous hours of research, embedded in an art historical conversation, and brought to life through meticulous mark-making. The meditative nature of these pieces invites the viewer and the maker alike to become visually and physically immersed in an experience. She so beautifully says “Artwork is the glitch of sorts that so wonderfully and abruptly interrupts the rhythm of life, inviting the unforeseen into our world and grants us the space to acquiesce- to shout, “yes!” to even the faintest glimmer of light in the darkness.”

Abi recently received her M.F.A. in Craft / Material Studies with a focus in fiber at Virginia Commonwealth University and completed a fellowship at the Virginia Museum of Fine Art. She was invited to several artist residencies including the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, Vermont Studio Center, and Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts. She now lives and works in Houston, Texas.

We are in awe of Abi’s refreshing vision and we encourage you to spend time looking at all of her different series on her website: https://abiogle.com

Barren Landscape:

The grapefruit membranes, originally meant to protect and grow, now stripped of their fruit, and left barren reminds me of the cycles within my own body and the bodies of those around me who have a womb. Those who have chosen to have children and watch their bodies grow and then deflate, those whose bodies can’t do what they were supposed to do, those who have made a choice to deny what their bodies could do, and those who have suffered the searing pain of child-loss.

Ground Eggshells:

Ghostly floorboards shift and warp along the floor as viewers tiptoe around the perimeter and gaze over the dream-like sea before them. These “wood” panels reference a beloved floor from my family home before it was destroyed in a tornado, leaving only a memory.

2024’s Spiritual Grant Opportunity was rich with dedicated imaginative artists whose art and lives reflect MOFSA’s vision.  In the coming months we will be introducing you to a few of them.  Our hope is that you, the receiver, are as transformed by this spiritual art as we have been.

A real work of art destroys the separation between the receiver and the artist.

Leo Tolstoy

2024 Spiritual Art Grant Opportunity

MOFSA is delighted to announce our fourth call to spiritual artists.  Spiritual art is transcendent.  Spiritual artists are seekers.  They are lovers.  Their desire is for the flourishing of the human community. We are looking for individuals who are actively seeking the transcendent through their art as evidenced by a supportive body of work and a desire to create more.  Our grant recipient must be using the lens of spirit to focus on the better way, the way that leads to the beloved community.

The recipient will be awarded a $10,000 grant to be presented at the opening of a virtual exhibit on ArtPlacer in December 2024. The grant recipient is expected to prepare a new work to be unveiled in the exhibit. The exhibit will include the work of selected other grant applicants, who will share an additional $2000 in awards.

Applications are closed on March 31, 2024. Full details on CaFE. Stay tuned for  an announcement of the 2024 grant and award recipients by May 31, 2024.

MOFSA’s 2023 Special Grants

In 2023 MOFSA awarded special grants to three artists:

  • Giulia Loli
  • Lisa Penson
  • Susannah Ravenswing

Congratulations!

Read more

Giulia Loli

My art is about being a witness to the witness. And it is reassuring to know that there are witnesses (Bob and friends) to the witness (artist) to the witnesses (Ancient Indigenous Africans). So much of the source of Inspiration feeding the artistic mission has to do with living with the Indigenous Garden Keepers, the Maasai. They are holding the keys of Ancient Wisdom, our still-alive Ancestors, as we all collectively cross this threshold into the so-called ‘Age of Aquarius’. In following the magnetic pull of the Great Spirit, I am grateful to still be here and continue to build this bridge between Egypt and Tanzania via the Nile River (the River which begins in Tanzania’s Lake Victoria…my mother’s name —and ends in Egypt), cross-pollinating back into Europe and America et al. This gift happens to coincide with the gift of discovering my roots deep in Tanzania, with the greater purpose of Ancestral Healing and the most beautiful Hymn of All Creatures Praising the Creator…

Lisa Penson

I would describe my painting practice as process-led intuitive abstract painting. Choices relating to colour, composition and theme are not pre-planned; they emerge as the painting transforms across time. For me, this spontaneous, organic way of working is the most exciting part of the process. Although I try to ‘control’ as little as possible, as I near the end of a painting, I introduce a ‘framing’ technique to demarcate points of interest that have arisen through the placement of multiple, contrasting layers. Ultimately, I seek balance between opposing visual elements such as control and expression, expanses of colour and black brush marks, hard edges and watery washes that correspond to the harmonisation of universal principles such as masculine/feminine, dark/light and yin/yang. In 2017 I had what can only be described as a ‘spontaneous spiritual activation’ which has sent me on a journey towards finding my ‘true self’ and an exploration of this through my arts practice. I am investigating how I can integrate specific spiritual practices (sadhana) such as contemplation, meditation, mindfulness, ‘emptying’, presence, non-attachment and egoless practice into my art practice.

Susannah Ravenswing

I follow the spiritual traditions of my pre-conversion Northern European ancestors, and find great joy in using my artistic talents in creating devotional art for my faith. The generous grant MOFSA made available to me this year has helped in the acquisition of tools and materials for the undertaking of two very different projects. The first, an altar hanging depicting the story of the wolves Hati and Skoll chasing the Sun and Moon across the heavens, was rendered through appliqué  and embroidery in linen and cotton and now hangs behind the main altar at TwoTrees Sanctuary in Stokes County, North Carolina. The second project, still in progress, is the carving of a large cedar votive pole honoring the Norse God Odin. Historically, such votive images marked community worship spaces, and the completed godpole will be raised in the upper worship space at TwoTrees

New Work: Martin Dunn

Artist Martin Dunn received MOFSA’s major grant award in 2020. Since then, he has generously given of his time to serve on the board of MOFSA and continues painting at his Bradenton, Fl. studio. Like many of us, he’s turned his heart and mind to the topic of the environment in crisis. His new painting “Tower Rock”,  takes us to Mississippi in the Summer of 2022 and examines the fair distribution of water.

Tower Rock

Martin Dunn
Oil on canvas, 24 x 36 inches

Did you know the Mississippi went dry last summer? So did the Rhine and the Yangtzee? This painting was started with the intention of alerting people to an overlooked climate change related natural catastrophe, but it evolved into something else. The two young people have a panoramic view as the disaster unfolds. They are unemotional, detached, watching it play out. They know this car is out of control and the brakes have failed. Yikes. Read more from Marty’s website.

A Word on Eco-Anxiety from a Contemplative Artist

Have you heard the term “eco-anxiety”? You can probably intuit the meaning even if you haven’t. To me, it’s a creeping feeling accompanying “environmental awareness”. YES, I am aware of the benefits of recycling so I push the bin to the corner AND I worry, “what else should I do..? is this enough?” 

As a kid I watched classmates leave their homes as underground coal mine fires spread through the neighboring town of Centralia, PA. Fear of ground collapse is a very real threat (in fact it happened) and no amount of meditation or prayer changes the fact. Decades of political strife dragged on about whose responsibility it was to pay for the fire to be extinguished while it raged and undermined the town. Poisonous gasses infiltrated homes from below and families lost sleep— if they were lucky enough to have carbon monoxide alarms.  Now Centralia is abandoned and sensationalized as a ghost town. 

Serious cases of eco-anxiety may cause obsessive focus on dystopian scenarios draining our physical energy leading to depression. This state of “dis-ease” is becoming more common as we hear stories from around the world about dangerous changes that threaten all living things. Scientific American recently reported that even medical professionals are at a loss :

“The American Psychiatric Association (APA) recognizes climate change as a growing threat to mental health, but many mental health professionals feel unequipped to handle the growing number of people anxious and grieving over the state of the planet.” 

Scientific American, April 19, 2021
Therapists Are Reckoning with Eco-anxiety

Although the social media algorithms and the 24 hour news cycle attempts to hold us hostage to bad news, there are reasons for hope. Icon and primatologist-turned- environmental-activist, Dr. Jane Goodall says:

“I do have reasons for hope: our clever brains, the resilience of nature, the indomitable human spirit, and above all, the commitment of young people when they’re empowered to take action.”

Jane Goodall, The Book of Hope: A Survival Guide for Trying Times

Visit the “Good For All News” page at JaneGoodall.org to learn about real change makers, or if you prefer a podcast tune in to her HOPECAST. My favorite podcast is “Climate of Change” hosted by Danny Kennedy and the actress Cate Blanchett.  It’s entertaining and substantially informative. Best of all it’s a reminding you that we can–and are–solving problems.  People of every generation are participating and finding new ways to adapt. It’s what all living things do and will keep doing.

You may be an artist whose work inspires awe or raises awareness, you may be a clinician that provides physical relief; you may be a retiree, gardener, writer, or have a job that allows you access to the public—whatever your gift and station in life, emerge from your shadowy thoughts and assist as the spirit moves you. Though we are human- with the power to reason and myriad fralities- we are also divine. Something energetic is at work in and around us guiding us towards connectedness and peace. You have felt it. If it has a “voice” it’s inaudible to me but I can usually recognize it by a subtle sensation of warmth in my heart, hands, and eyes. It’s a softening– a sensation that reminds me that young people are watching every generation that came before them to figure out how to move forward. You may not know exactly what to say about smoke turning our skies orange but you do know how to put on an N95 mask. If modeling persistence, loving-kindness and humility is your gift, this is enough. It is the best gift to share because it nourishes other acts of generosity that naturally live inside others. What I learned from watching the devastation in Centralia is: the better the primordial health of a community before a crisis, the better it can cope.

In July I’ll be visiting Pennsylvania and will make a trip to Centralia to take more reference images for a new body of artwork about Centraila. I want to meet the man who returns every week to mow the grass on the site of his old home. I also have plans to connect with old friends who’ve remained in the region, and learn about the newly discovered heat loving microbes that are helping researchers better understand resilience. Imagine that, new insight about resilience straight from the disaster zone!

To see new art visit the visual essay, “Environmental Crisis Through the Lens of Centralia, Pennsylvania”. This body of work was selected by The Environmental Peacebuilding Association and the Geneva Peacebuilding Platform-led Community of Practice on Environment, Climate, Conflict, and Peace (ECCP).  It will be exhibited in Dubai in 2024 as part of a global grassroots project showcasing the impact of environmental and climate change on communities and conflict around the world. 

2022 Virtual Exhibit

Towards the Spiritual

Opened July 26, 2022

The Marianne Oberg Foundation for Spiritual Art (MOFSA) is pleased to announce its first virtual exhibit, featuring the work of our 2022 spiritual art grant recipients Deborah Hamon and Emily McIlroy along with the work of six other artists. These artists were chosen from over 360 applicants throughout the United States for our 2022 Spiritual Art Grant opportunity. Read about the grant winners and invited artists.

MOFSA exists to support artists who create works that inspire peace within individuals and between disparate communities. MOFSA is not bound to any particular religious creed, rather we hope to encourage artists as they pursue their own spiritual path. The artists represented in our exhibit reflect different religions and spiritual perspectives, all supportive of our vision.

The theme of our exhibit is “Towards the Spiritual”. In this time of darkness and multiple challenges, we hope that the work of our artists will support you in your life’s journey and inspire hope.

“Another Sun Will Rise”
Deborah Hamon

Our virtual exhibit uses the ArtPlacer platform and provides a 3-D viewing experience. We hope you will enjoy it!

MOFSA’s 2022 Invited Artists

Besides MOFSA’s 2022 Spiritual Art Grants, we are also inviting five other artists, each of whom will receive an award of $500:

  • Salma Arastu
  • Marvin Eans
  • Tara Flores
  • Taylor Ann Merchant
  • Ana Volentine

Congratulations!

Read more

MOFSA’s 2022 Spiritual Art Grants

This year MOFSA is pleased to announce that we have selected two recipients for our $10,000 spiritual art grant! The two winners are Deborah Hamon and Emily McIlroy. In addition, we are awarding a special grant of $2500 to Karen Benioff Friedman.

Read more

2022 Spiritual Art Grant Opportunity

We are delighted to announce our third grant program for artists who see the world from a spiritual perspective and seek to express their view of the transcendent in their artwork. The recipient should already have some body of work in this direction and a desire to create more.The recipient will be awarded a $10,000 grant to be presented at the opening of a virtual exhibit of the artist’s work in July, 2022.The grant recipient is expected to prepare a new work to be unveiled in the virtual exhibit. The exhibit will feature the work of other artists who have submitted for the grant, who will share an additional $2000 in rewards. In addition, the grant recipient’s work will be presented along with that of other spiritual artists in a website hosted by MOFSA.

Applications are closed on January 15, 2022. Full details on CaFE. Also, read our October newsletter announcing the grant. Stay tuned for  an announcement of the 2022 grant and award recipients by March 15, 2022.

Presenting MOFSA Artists

We are pleased to show you a video presentation of five artists who have received awards from MOFSA:

  • Mia Bosna
  • Joanna Gould
  • Jennifer Printz
  • Emily Clare
  • Zangmo Alexander

The video editing was done by Katie Ree. Thank you, Katie!

Read more