At One With The Universe

A Cosmic Egg

An egg is indeed a treasure, especially when it shimmers with a thousand points of light as it does in Nell’s (1975-) mixed media work, Treasure (2003). Nell, an artist known only by her first name, works across a range of mediums encompassing painting, installation, ceramics and performance. Treasure is an object that embodies her commitment to Zen Buddhism and the practice of mindfulness, in which the changing effects of atmosphere and feelings are accepted as part of life’s cycle of constant change.

As a symbol of birth and regeneration, the egg holds a powerful place in our imagination.  Across many cultures it is regarded as a metaphor for potentiality, as an elemental point of origin for life and the universe that transcends time and space. Its surface glistening with a constellation of celestial blue and gold, Treasure collapses the mantle of heaven with the wholeness of the earth, suggesting a oneness with the universe. That is the goal of enlightenment.

Nell grew up in the regional centre of Maitland, realising at the age of sixteen that: ‘I knew I was going to be an artist and that my art practice was my life practice.’ A significant part of her life practice is meditation within the Zen Buddhist tradition, to which fellow artist Lindy Lee introduced her in the 1990s. The symbol of the egg has recurred in her work through the succeeding decades; in Treasure in 2003, and in The time is now in 2018. Both works are held in the collection of the Maitland Regional Art Gallery (MRAG) and both incarnate a simple yet profound message of spiritual strength.