Mary Antonia Wood, Ph.D.
Artist & Professor, Mythologist & Mentor
"Meaninglessness inhibits the fullness of life and is therefore equivalent to illness. Meaning makes a great many things endurable - perhaps everything."
As a visual artist for over twenty-five years, I've experienced the highs, the lows and the in-betweens of the artist's life. I feel fortunate to have had my work shown in respected galleries and museums, as well as collected by wonderful institutions and individuals. However, even in the best of times, I've sometimes felt a lack of meaning, or an emptiness while translating the creative calling into what our culture calls "career." The thread into the labyrinth of creation can easily be broken - the demands of the marketplace can easily overtake the creative gift.
My academic background includes both an M.A. and Ph.D. in mythological studies and depth psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara, CA. My doctoral thesis focused on the creative calling and was entitled: The Archetypal Artist: Reimagining Artistic Creation at the Crossroads of Fate and Free Will. (This project is currently being reformatted into a book for Routledge with a publication date of winter 2021. You can read a brief abstract here.) I'm honored to have now returned to Pacifica as Co-Chair and faculty in the Engaged Humanities and Creative Life program.
In my private practice...
I specialize in helping individuals reach their fullest potential as creators. The complex territory of creativity includes not only the joy of creating, but also feelings of longing, melancholy and loss. Today we might also add the less poetic terms of "being stuck" or "blocked." At any time in an artist's life, a reinvigorated relationship with the deepest layers of imagination can transform art-making into "soul-making."
"Psyche is image. In other words, making images