Art & Culture

Ricky Lee Gordon

Ways of Seeing, Waves of Being,
an Artist in Residence.

Cultivating a strong connection between the power of art with healing, wandering visual artist Ricky Lee Gordon, connects to the landscape through his work and cognitive biases around experience to forge new perspectives on ways of seeing and waves of being.

Artist, curator, and philosopher, Ricky Lee Gordon, experiences life via all the senses. Touch in the texture of the canvas and the feel of the pencil in hand, sight in the beauty of the world that surrounds, and smell, sound, and taste in the many places he has lived and created. Born in South Africa and residing in both Sri Lanka and Indonesia over the years has led him to understand the innate role of nature in his works; raw, natural, and tactile materials combined with environmental influences of rain, water, dirt, and pigment, blending together to form dreamlike displays of the land’s most scenic stories. It is this deeply personal process in which he likens to meditation for the manner in which it illuminates the interconnectedness of all life that build the narratives within his work. Through nature, memory, travel, and experience; these themes are translated into lucid visuals of ‘romantic realism’; each canvas an exercise in self-healing and connectedness with the communities he is creating within.

During a short but intense residency at MUSA, Gordon looked to explore in more depth the very concept of “ways of seeing, waves of being”, a philosophy he conjured after finding meaning and intention in his art over years of self-discovery. Quickly finding that his art was a way of expression and therapy that could greatly move himself and provide hope for others, Ricky Lee’s quest to seek out environments that allowed him to create art that felt meaningful and inspired, meant he wasn’t so consumed with what he was making, but the experience of making it and the philosophies of interconnectivity, or energetic exchange between maker and viewer.

During his work, Ricky explains that his emotional state gets transferred into every piece he creates. Using plant dyes, and natural pigments like charcoal and indigo, there's an energetic resonance in the work that can vibrate out into the homes for the new beholders. “I work a lot of things out for myself whilst painting, and it usually results in a positive experience, and so that then gets transferred to the viewer. That's what this project is, and this event that we did is about. The theme was the power of art and healing. As artists, we are so lucky that we can actually create and use our hands and be mindful. And through that experience, do some sort of healing or self-discovery. And then output that to our community.”

"It is the language of the self, the path to find truth, to investigate the world around you and make it a better place. Through this freedom of art, we have the power to heal. With that power, we find the power to heal others. With that vision, we can make the world a better place. This is a strong promise, these are the waves of being."

It’s a concept he now refers to as artivism, where art is used as a positive means for change. The two-day event curated by Gordon and held at MUSA drew together an eclectic global collective of artists, creators, thinkers, and anyone who felt a connection to art as an important state of constant and creative being. Speakers, workshops, performances, and ceremonial rituals by the likes of fellow artists RYX, Jarus, Tyler Hanson and Ricardo Wain, plus many more musicians and healers, enjoyed together within the open landscape and community setting of MUSA, set the stage for a week of ultimate creation; a number of linen canvases projecting textural waterscapes and jungle beachscapes, resulting in a larger than life painted mural atop of the structural Templo del Agua, amidst the property’s developing Hideaways and biopool. For Gordon, the natural power of MUSA’s sprawling setting allowed for the very goal of creation through connection to the landscape and community that makes his work and ethos so powerful.

“Creativity is a lubricant and a language that's in everyone. Like the Peter Pan philosophy of you can fly if you believe you can fly, that's the power of creativity. Anything is possible.”
Turn phone horizontal

Whilst creating the mural and pieces that will now live at MUSA, Gordon found solace in yet another faraway place that evokes an unequivocal connection with the landscape and others  during a week of collaboration and discussion with like-minded creators that explored the power of creativity. Emerging from the jungle with clearer vision for a ‘stronger promise’, Gordon’s investigations into art, activism, and hope, leaves a positive message for all.

“It's clear that the intention of MUSA is community, creativity, and being one with nature. Community that embraces the like-minded idea of experience so that it is not just a hotel. It's not just a place to come and relax. Some people will come here for that, but they'll leave with a different experience. It will grow, I've seen the plans. And I think it's up to the community to make sure it grows in the right way.”

See select works from Gordon, Jarus, and their collaboration with the MUSA landscape via canvas and mural at the Water Temple, now on display at MUSA as part of our growing permanent collection.

MUSA’s Artist in Residence program is in development and is currently open to limited artists only. Stay tuned for more details on our official program as they unravel.

Continue on Ricky Lee Gordon’s journey with more experiences, travels, and learnings on Instagram.

Words by Tegan Noël
Photo & Video by Andy & Tegan Noël
Event Video by Roberto Nogueda Lopez
Additional imagery by Emilia Kulieva & Abdul Ortiz