Awakening Numinous Experience in the Spheres of Karen Sewell

Read ESSAY by Tamar Torrance on exhibiting artist Karen Sewell's exhibition 'Numinous Spheres' - on show at Northart 4 - 26 May, 2021. 

"Beyond religion, the numinous became an expression for spiritual experience as it arises in a multiplicity of forms, from dreams and wandering states of introspection, to sensations of embodiment, interpersonal relations, and even feelings of connectedness to the wilderness. This phenomenal understanding of numinosity speaks to way in which the ethereal is expressed, and indeed manifests, in the everyday, and the connective threads tying together the seen and the unseen, the physical and the metaphysical. Despite arising from ‘within’, the numinous is therefore ingrained in a sense – whether this be tacit or explicit – of something beyond and inexpressibly greater than the ‘self’, though to which the ‘self’ is inexplicably tethered.

It is this sense that Auckland-based artist Karen Sewell channels through her body of work, aspiring to awaken potential for numinous experience through reference to the cosmos. In her most recent installations at Northart, a series of PVC spheres are floated with helium and suspended on threads. Levitating and radiant, these structures take on a celestial appearance, recalling extraterrestrial bodies and interstellar territories."

- Excerpt from Awakening Numinous Experience in the Spheres of Karen Sewell, by Tamar Torrance 

Karen Sewell, Awakenings (Voice of the Earth), 2021, installation at Northart, May 2021. Custom PVC sphere, lights, sounds, Northart, May 2021, 6300 x 7600 mm

Image courtesy of the artist and Northart