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August 17, 2009 | by  | in Visual Arts |
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Mandala

An exhibition of energy balancing artwork by Henri-noel Venturini.

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What is perfection? If we saw it would we know what it looked liked?

This was a question posed to me by one of my lecturers this week. Considering he’s rather middle-aged and balding (but trying to make up for it with a mullet and beard), I was pretty certain I wasn’t staring at my idea of perfection right at that point.

However, later that day, as a friend and I entered the healing calm of Thistle Hall the question started floating around in my mind again. Thistle’s latest exhibition is work by Henri-noel Venturini, an internationally renowned healer who combines art with the healing power of Chinese five element theory to create striking, vivid artworks that speak to the inner soul.

The five traditional Chinese elements—earth, metal, water, wood and fire—represent the five basic forms of energy that are present in the natural world and human beings. Each element works in conjunction with the others to make up your inner soul. Most people are prominent in one element, which describes your psychological, emotional and physical make-up.

Mandalas are based on the premise that your mind works in pictures. In that sense it has no concept of time, culture or language. As Mandalsa are entirely visual, they are able to speak to your inner conscious and connect with it, regardless of your age or background. Healers, such as Henri, can use Mandala images to identify what parts of your soul are deficient. This can be as simple as picking out which Mandala stands out the most to you.

Always up for something a bit weird and wonderful, I volunteered for a Mandala analysis. Of the five elements I picked out the picture that most appealed to me—fire. As it represents confidence, compassion and generosity, I was pretty pleased with my choice. However, I was soon informed that your chosen element is often the one you have too much of and need to reign in. Oh. A full assessment of your energy reveals which elements you are lacking at the present point and how all five can work together to bring you back into balance.

Henri’s art is a development on this process. His current exhibition is a collection of a dozen images, some on canvas, some framed and others in light boxes, which each represent a word in the English or Maori language. The artist first considers the pneumonic structure of the word, creating an image of it in his mind and transferring it onto canvas. He then repeats the process, considering how we view the word today and layers that image on top of the first. Each work can have up to 50 layers of ink and requires careful communication with the printer to reach the desired effect. What results is an intricate combination of colour and geometrical shape. The striking pastel highlighting on each suggests the idea of representing light that reaches out to the viewer rather than layered paint that presses into the canvas.

Despite the exacting nature of the process, there is a strong feeling of movement and expression within each work. However, you can’t help thinking that the use of modern technology is contradictory in an otherwise such organic process, as it removes the artist’s hand and somewhat distances them from the creative process. However, as Henri is a Tai Chi Weapons Master, and holds three Black Belts in various martial arts, I wasn’t about to bring this up.

Despite his intimidating credentials, Henri is a pillar of inner strength and calm, who has been creating Mandala and working with natural health for the last two decades. Growing up in Italy, Henri travelled throughout the western world before settling in Auckland, where he has set up two healing studios. To complement his artwork, Henri will be running one-on-one “energy balancing” sessions following his exhibition to help people realign and energise their bodies, and give them a taste of the healing sessions he conducts at his studios.

Could be worth a try—perhaps perfection is not what we should be looking for, just a bit of balance.

For more information on Balanced Energy healing sessions go to balancedenergy.co.nz or email info@balancedenergy.co.nz.

Exhibitions this week:

Pixel Ink—Showing works by Rosalind Clark until August 26

Solander—Inge Doesburg’s work inspired by the Kapiti coast and Jo Ogier’s woodcut prints based around ecological and environmental themes are on show until September 5

Thistle Hall—This week sees the opening of Andy Grieve’s Day Tripper. The artist uses the original concept of a bus journey (specifically the south-east end of the #14 around Roseneath, Hataitai and Kilbirne) to inspire his painting.

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