10 years ago, while working on her PhD researching mystical states of consciousness, Lara Bardsley embarked upon a journey to represent the numinous through her art practice. Still practising as a Transpersonal and Existential Psychologist, Lara spent 10 years refining her art practice through studies at Victorian College of the Arts, the La Trobe School and mentorships with professional artists. Lara’s practice spans different mediums including film, photography and fine art. Her work explores the themes of transcendence, the spiritual within the everyday and narratives of humanity’s search for meaning.
Living and working in her Port Melbourne Studio, Lara’s most recent works are images and responses to her local environment: the illuminated Docklands and reflections on the bay, gold leaf panels that seem to engulf the viewer, their delicate irregular surface responding to the slightest movements of air and breath. Her interest in the human narrative and the Divine within the everyday is refelcted in her combination of portraits and abstracts. Lara’s Images are elemental, evocative and abstracted, encouraging the viewer to respond to their own interpretation of meaning.
Comments from the Artist:
Written by Lara Bardsley
I do believe that some things cannot be spoken, only felt and perhaps alluded to through the creativity of visual art, dance, or music. I am not trained as an art therapist; in fact, I rarely use the arts in my therapeutic practice. However, I feel the line between my own personal narrative as a woman, a therapist and an artist is seamless. I completed my training in Clinical Psychology 16 years ago. The experience was formulative in that it catapulted me to further studies into the antithesis of the model within which I studied: to explore the unseen and the unconscious. I have explored these themes in undertaking further training in the counselling field: 10 years training in Transpersonal Psychology and Jungian psychology and 25 years practicing and exploring Buddhism, meditation and mindfulness practices.
I consider myself to be both an artist and a psychologist. It is both an honor and a challenge to be in the unique position to bear witness of the way we seek to find meaning in our lives. 10 years ago I began a PhD to explore the healing potential of non-ordinary states of consciousness. My own experiences led me to feel that change and growth can be deeply embedded in the unconscious, and healing may well occur in states of consciousness that are out of the ordinary.
For good or ill, 5 years of struggling with my PhD led me to pursuing my art practice in a more committed manner. At that time, I could not bridge the academic and the feeling, comfortably. Instead, I left psychology for a few years and studied art full time and commenced a Bachelor of Fine art at Victorian College of the Arts where I was drawn to the raw feeling and the transpersonal motivations of the work of Abstract Expressionists like Mark Rothko, the alignment of the human and the divine in the works of Gustav Klimt, the free gestural language of Cy Twombly among many others.
Currently, I work part-time as an artist and part-time as a psychologist. I have sought to participate in the understanding of Self and meaning in both of my careers. Using images and techniques that allude to the human, the unconscious, and the spiritual, my aim is to evoke a reflection of a place of unity and wholeness which I feel exists within each of us.