expressing primordial beauty


My work is not conceptual. It is the reflection of my emotion before the perfection of nature. Beauty leaves us speechless; faced with it, the need for expression is inoperative. There is nothing to think before a sunset or a flower. I try to get closer to this obvious truth with each drawing.

The rose has no reason.
– Silesius


The Awakened Eye: art by Nathalie Delay 1


We know the feeling of harmony, perfection, intimately. It is a state we have tasted before and we feel nostalgia for it. A drawing succeeds when there is something, if only a trace, of this feeling of perfection and harmony before something in us which is at peace. I have this slightly crazy desire that my drawings should make people happy, peaceful. That’s why I don’t draw from concepts and ideas but from what can be felt, and the feeling of harmony.


The Awakened Eye: art by Nathalie Delay 6


It seems important to me to express beauty by all possible means, to bring about an emotion of beauty which short-circuits any need to fall back on words for comment. A simple beauty, not flashy. A beauty which is free of the need to prove or assert anything sends us back to contemplation, to an emotion which, as adults, we have often lost: the simple, innocent wonder we can feel before the spectacle of living, of nature.

I want to speak of this simple, obvious, direct beauty. I try to get closer to it with each drawing, without claiming ever to reach it.


The Awakened Eye: art by Nathalie Delay 2


Beauty is important, it even seems primordial to me, in this world which forgets its origin, its first source. It is the vital counterweight to an ambient superficiality. This superficiality distances us from what is real, and generates suffering and violence through lack of respect, and lack of listening, in the widest and most comprehensive sense of the word.

Artists have to talk about beauty; that’s their role. Only an artist can allow herself to act for nothing, for no reason other than the beauty of the act, of the moment. A drawing has no use in the final scheme of things, and that’s what is touching: this absolute needlessness, a time spent only in the service of beauty as a tiny offering to the great beauty of reality, to its limitless and unequaled wealth. The act of creation is the celebration of the moment, of living, and of everything which goes beyond the need to possess and rule.


The Awakened Eye: art by Nathalie Delay 3


The title of the series The light behind objects is an invitation to question the nature of the light which gives form to things. Without light the object does not exist. Without the object’s help I cannot perceive light. I cannot look at sunlight directly or it blinds and burns me. The original light is one, and is revealed in the many. Consequently it is important to find a way of seeing which is not limited to the manifold aspect, an apprehension which is less avid for an object to grasp, remains open and receptive, and which dares to allow form and that which underlies it to reveal themselves in their own time; a gaze which takes the time to go from a simple surface vision to a deeper, more internal one. There, the ultimate details, the best-hidden and the most mysterious ones, reveal themselves soundlessly, wordlessly. One can discover that matter is not quite so material and dense as we had thought. It is woven of light.

In the end the majority of artists who paint and draw are looking for, and have only ever looked for, a way to show light and give it life in one form or another; the very subject of a painting or drawing becoming sometimes so evanescent that it finally disappears, leaving only pure light. In their footsteps, I am setting out on this mad adventure myself: to offer a glimpse, a feeling, of light, the origin of apparition, the source of all form. A crazy idea, one we know in advance is unachievable, but still the irresistible call is there and you know you can dedicate your life to such a quest for the unreachable star, to this delusion that you can show the indescribable.


The Awakened Eye: art by Nathalie Delay 4


So the only subject of this series of works is light, its circulation, its apparition and its fragmentation. Through the more or less dense framework of matter, formed by the multitude of lines, the task is to make light visible, let it show through, be glimpsed through every loop and stitch of the mesh.

The slightest detail becomes perceptible in this esthetic minimalism. But a simple glance is not enough. The thing is to stop for a while in front of the drawing and accept the fact of being there with almost nothing, with the imperceptible. It’s a kind of counterbalance to modern instantaneousness, where we consume instead of contemplating. Each curve and curl in the line becomes a sign to the one looking. There is an attempt to translate the imperceptible breath which animates the universe.


The Awakened Eye: art by Nathalie Delay 5


The circle used as the single subject of the drawing leads to simplicity and lack of clutter. Its symbolic force allows a minimum of representation and presents me with the constant challenge of saying the essential, without embellishment or digression.

– Nathalie Delay

Images and text ©copyright Nathalie Delay
Sourced from Getting Closer to Truth Through Art at Science and Nonduality
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From the bookshelf:

Tantra Song

Tantra Song: Tantric Painting from Rajasthan
– Franck André Jamme