Notes from Monte Alban
Inspiration from Mexico's Zapotec Pyramid

Monte Alban, Zapotec Pyramid

by Glen Rogers

Just outside the City of Oaxaca lies Monte Albán, an ancient Zapotec site with an impressive complex of pyramids and an expansive view of the valley. I have visited this site four or five times, as I always take my Oaxaca Art Vacation students there for inspiration. As with any of the archeological sites that I have visited in Mexico and around the world, I feel a sense of awe and connection with the ancestors who inhabited the space. There are always gaps in the knowledge of a past civilization despite best efforts of the archeologists and it is that mystery that pulls me in. As an artist, I take these journeys for inspiration and to commune with the spirit of place.


Glyphs from Monte Alban

At Monte Alban, there are many large stones inscribed with an intriguing array of figures and symbols, a hidden language whose forms capture my attention. Some are reproductions stacked around the periphery of the pyramids, while the real ones are on view in the small museum on site.  Rather than the figures, I am particularly drawn to the somewhat abstract glyphs made up of circles, dashes, and ovals – bold, graphic marks that are beautiful in their own right.


Glyphs from Monte Alban

It is these symbols, marks made by an ancient culture, that I bring back to the studio as point of departure for new work. I am not interested in illustrating, but in borrowing their forms and transforming them into something new.


Glyphs from Monte Alban

“The job of the artist is always to deepen the mystery.” - Francis Bacon


Ancient Secrets I; Written in Stone

I gather my photographs around me and mix and match, often pairing them with more feminine symbols such as the vesica piscis, an oval shape created by 2 intersecting circles that implies the female womb and is used in sacred geometry. Perhaps it is my little cosmic joke to balance the yin to the yang, the feminine with the masculine - an attempt to provide a completeness and wholeness to the picture.


Ancient Secrets II

My trips to Monte Alban resulted in a series of monotype prints, one-of-a-kind images, that are imbued with the same mystery I felt upon walking those sacred grounds. I will be exhibiting some of these 30” x 22” original prints at Edina Sagert Gallery at the Fábrica La Aurora beginning in January.


Notes from Monte Alban III

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Glen Rogers will be showing at the Edina Sagert Gallery, Fabrica la Aurora, January 3 - March.

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Glen Rogers is an internationally exhibited artist whose work includes paintings, prints and public sculpture. Her work is inspired by visits to sacred sites around the world and the artifacts left behind by these ancient cultures, chronicled by her book, Art & Sacred Sites: Connecting with Spirit of Place. She offers monotype workshops from her studios in San Miguel de Allende and Mazatlán and offers Art Vacations to Peru and other exotic locales. Visit her website: www.glenrogersart.com and her blog, artandsacredsites.com, an artist’s journey of travel, sacred sites, and creating art.

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