Carrie MaKenna

Studio & Gallery, Denver Colorado

Enter The Universal Circle
An Interactive Experiential Exhibit by Carrie MaKenna
This exhibit is available to travel. It can been adjusted to fit pretty much any size space. Please contact the Artist to chat about options and opportunities and receive a proposal. Carrie MaKenna, 720-933-3813
     This interactive art installation and exhibit by artist Carrie MaKenna explores The Universal Circle through painting, sculpture and play. It’s a culmination of 30 years of interest, study, practice and teaching about the Circle as a unique Universal Pattern and Spiritual Resource.
     The Circle is found at the center of many spiritual traditions including the Native American Indian Medicine Wheel, the Celtic Stone Circles, the Buddhist Tangkas and Hindu Mandalas among countless others. The Artist has also had a deep life-long interest in Space, the Solar System and the intricate cycles of the Sun, Earth and Moon that define our life on planet Earth.
     “We live moment to moment within the influence of The Universal Circle,” says MaKenna. “The Circle is a key form that surrounds and supports us here on Earth. Whether we are aware of it or not, The Universal Circle encompasses our daily lives. It is the basis of the Cycles of Time. We experience the Circle through the cycles of a minute, an hour, a day, month, year, decade, a lifetime. These are marked by the rotation and orbit of the Earth around the Sun, and the Moon around the Earth.”
     Enjoy the show.

The Enter The Universal Circle exhibit has several specific elements described below, which include the Four Direction Gates, the Planetary Spiral Walk, the Rainbow Wash, the Moon Phases, and Distant and Unknown Worlds. Additionally the Circle is explored in various visual forms.

Four Direction Gates
These four paintings represent the four directions: East, South, West and North. Each corresponds with a time of day, season and element. They are freestanding in the center of the room to that visitors can approach each of them in the direction they represent.
The Solar System
The Sun and Planets hang in a spiral from the ceiling.
A corresponding spiral on the floor lets visitors know which planet they are standing under.
A narrative panel gives information about the meaning and qualities of each planet.
Distant and Unknown Worlds
Not based on any known or existing planets, these paintings explore the experience of a planetary body as it exists in space. What's it like out there - buffeted by gravity and objects, impacted by contraction and expansion, strained by heat and fire. What beauty lies in the pockmarks and striations left on the surface.
Rainbow Wash
This feature of the exhibit allows visitors to literally step inside a rainbow. A Rainbow Wash is a Universal resource that is meant to help you to cleanse and clear your physical, mental and emotional energies.

It is a way to let go of any preconceived ideas and feelings about what you see, think and feel.

It is a way to prepare yourself to experience this interactive exhibit with a sense of wonder and joy.

Part the ribbons anywhere and step into the center of the Rainbow Wash.

Please don’t spin the ribbons, as the attachment is fragile.

Instead, you may turn to the right within the Rainbow Wash.

Let each color wash over you and clear away any fears, worries or concerns about what this is all about.

When you are ready, come out refreshed and ready to move to the Yellow Eastern Gate.

There you will find more information about how to proceed into the Universal Circle and greet each Directional Gate.

Community Mandala Experience

This Exhibit includes several interactive experience elements. On of them is the creation of a Community Mandala that is in the center of the Four Direction Gates.

I can provide an Event in which the attendees participate in a Circle Dance and add an item to the Community Circle from a table of objects I provide. And throughout the Exhibit guests are invited to add one of the provided items to the Community Circle. 

Moon Boxes 

The Moon Phases are created with mirrors. The Moon doesn't have it's own light source. It reflects the Sun's light. As visitors look into the Moon Boxes the also see their own reflection in the various phases of the Moon.

A narrative panel provides information about the meaning and qualities of each phase.
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In The Artist's Words 
     When I considered what was most important to convey about the Universal Circle I wanted to make it accessible to anyone without any previous knowledge of the Circle, or any particular spiritual or religious viewpoint. It was relatively easy to think about the Directions of the Circle as they relate to time, seasons and elements. And I wanted visitors to be able to approach the Directions and experience them as gateways they could enter visually. My husband, Craig, designed the stands for the Gates so they could be approached facing the direction they represent.
     I also wanted to activate the whole space in the gallery including the center of the room as well as the ceiling, floor and walls through experiences that would engage visitors beyond just looking at artwork on walls and pedestals such as you find in traditional galleries and museums.
     Once I figured out the direction Gates I thought about the ceiling. "What is circular that hangs in space? Oh, the Planets!" That was a no-brainer for me since I've been fascinated with the Solar System and Planets since childhood. As soon as I started making the forms the Planets started directing me about how they would like to be "dressed" for this occasion.
     The first one to speak up was Pluto who said, "I'm a Planet dammit!" Then it showed me an image of the comic strip Rose is Rose in her alter-ego Vicki the biker chick. Pluto said, "I'm out here in far space holding to my orbit despite the sub-zero temperatures and the lack of light. I'm badass. I want to wear rhinestones and chain-mail."
     That's how it started. Each Planet and the Sun showed me what colors and materials to use, and directed their placement as I worked. It was fun and fascinating. The one that surprised me the most was Saturn. It kept selecting pinks and yellows and pearls and sequins.
     And of course the Moon had to play a significant role in the exhibit. The Moon marks time in monthly cycles we see as its phases. It also creates the tides as its gravitation pulls the oceans as it circles the earth. The intricate interaction of the Moon circling the Earth, and the Earth circling the Sun is the very basis of life on this planet. Everything is interconnected within these cycles.
     As I was working on the Moon boxes I tried several ideas to create them. Since the Moon doesn't create it's own light I wanted them to be reflective. I settled on the idea of carving the back of round mirrors and painting them so that the mirror material would reflect people's faces as they looked at them. The idea was that we see the moon reflecting the sun and we are reflected in the Moon's phases.
     I created 32 new pieces of artwork in 3 months during which I had a hip replacement. It was a unique time because as I worked there were many coincidences that occurred. I often worked at odd hours and into the night.
     While working on the Planets and the Moon Boxes I could sit on the couch with the tv on for company. One night flipping through channels I came across a new series about recent discoveries about the Planets. Another time I found a documentary series about the Moon missions.
     This was also the summer of the American Solar Eclipse. On August 21, 2017 my husband and I drove to Wyoming to be in the path of the path of totality. Talk about a Universal Circle experience. It was the ultimate interplay of the Sun the Earth and the Moon.
     The day the exhibit opened with an Artists Reception, NASA ended the Cassini probe mission by flying it into Saturn's atmosphere to burn up. The Cassini mission had spent a great deal of time circling Saturn and several of its moons.
     Creating, curating and producing this exhibit has been one of the most significant experiences of my life. It exemplifies everything the Universal Circle represents. It called upon many people's ideas, inspiration, and actions to produce the final exhibit that guests experienced.
     It could not have happened without the unselfish help and support of my husband Craig Rouse, the cultural center artistic director Lorene Joos, and colleagues Devin Seligsohn, Jan DeSanti, Gayle and Gary Landis, Joan Jacobson, Linda Humphrey, Patricia Moore and Mary Jo Honiotes, and my teacher Trudy Welty.
What Visitors have said about their experience in the Enter the Universal Circle interactive art installation and exhibit by artist Carrie MaKenna.

This work is a high point in your art. I was literally stunned by the beauty and degree of creativity.

09-09-17 Pat Pendleton, Lakewood CO

Congratulations on your consistent, persistent representation of universal themes. What an extraordinary exhibit you created – so much more than the sum of its parts.

09-09-17 Patricia Moore, Centennial CO

Your new art is infused with a wonderful positive energy.

09-09-17 Mike Kloepfer, Arvada CO

Carrie, the show is absolutely amazing! Molly and I both had our breath taken away. It’s really wonderful to see your vision brought fully forth. Congratulations.

09-09-17 Doug Wells, Lakewood CO

It was a really powerful and beautiful show.

09-09-17 Tabetha Landt, Denver CO

OMG Carrie, it was magnificent! So glad I could be there! I am in awe of your exhibit. This need to be a traveling exhibit for many to see!!!

09-10-17 Deanna Raso, Lakewood CO

It was an awesome show! Your rainbow wash was really special! We all had fun in it, and it touched my heart. You have a wonderful vision and a beautiful mind! I LOVE all your work!

09-11-17 Ericka Salerno

I loved your Art! The total display was incredible! So glad I got to see it.

09-13-17 Sharon Frenzen, Lakewood CO

This exhibit is so comforting – it feels like home, home, home – connection, connection, connection.

9-14-17 Mary Jo Honiotes, Centennial CO

Beautiful. Impressive. Soul-stirring! I love the 4 directions and the Moons! And Matters of the Heart.

9-14-17 Deb Gee, Lakewood CO

Enter The Universal circle is a thematically tight exhibit. The works manage to be both esoteric and welcoming. MaKenna’s simple compositions allow her to explore the emotional potential of color and texture to great effect..

09-16-17 Mark Penner-Howell, Lakewood CO

I felt very happy / excited as I walk around the exhibit it was truly a unique experience. The work inspired me so much, I am working on new art goals.

09-18-17 Barbara Sweeney, Lakewood CO

Thank you Carrie MaKenna! My ten-year-old granddaughter and I recently experienced together your ingenious art exhibit: Enter the Universal Circle. We were blown away. The exhibit inspired us to think deeply about life and the universe.

Our discussions centered around creation, the galaxies, and the seasons. We talked about their connection to our never-ending interdependence with all people and all life. This led to a heart-to-heart about love, which we concluded is not only essential to the existence of life but is also the eternal purpose of life.

We are so looking forward to visiting your exhibit again and to seeing what mind-blowing experiences you have in store for us in the future.

09-18-17 Beverly Gibson, Denver CO

The Universal Circle exhibit is impressive on many levels. Knowing Carrie as a Spiritually based person brings immediate depth to her work and the exhibit asks the viewer to observe and reflect from her many visual expressions in this way. This brings to light Carrie's energetic style, vibrant use of color and layered textures in surprising ways. She is prolific and diverse in her artistic abilities - always connected to an idea that goes deep - and this exhibit is no exception. Highly recommended.

09-18-17 Keith Harley, Boulder CO

When first walking into the exhibit my attention drew left. Once I soaked in the vibrant colors and calm energy of the pieces, my senses were once again drawn but to my right this time, to the rainbow wash. I let the Colorado wash over me and take away my stress. I focused on fuschia, my favorite color, and smiled. Next was the Universal Circle. I stayed in the center and turned around facing each direction, getting close to each one to read the descriptions. The one that was my age group drew me in the most which was kind of cool, and when I asked Kris (my husband) which on we liked, it was for the over 40!

These are pieces I could stare at for days and just soak them in, Carrie!

The detail and perfection of your lines and balanced use of color makes them so easy on the eye and makes me happy. There are not many paintings that I can look at and truly smile. Have a sense of ease with.

I imagined times, memories, and future happenings when looking at the directional ones (north, south east and west). It was a sort of meditation even with so many people around me.

Thank you for that.

09-19-17 Stacey Teegardin, Edgewater CO

I was so lucky and privileged to see your beautiful art installation. It was mysterious, magical, and mesmerizing. It came at me from all four directions but also from the earth and sky. I can’t praise it enough or you its creator. And the planets! I could spend hours looking at them. Thanks for sharing your wonderful vision with all of us.

It’s an amazing exhibit. In my opinion, your best work yet on many levels!

09-19-17 Cathy Hatfield, Lakewood CO

I enjoyed just being in the gallery space surrounded by Carrie's art. The circular theme is simple yet soul stirring. It created a visual experience of our connection to the Universe and to each other. Take the time to go!

09-19-17 Deb Gee, Lakewood CO

Carrie – Amazing show! I just so enjoy the unity that the overall show expresses and the artistic thought you have put into your colors and texture and shapes surrounding the circles. You effort is so apparent. Great Job!

09-21-17 Laura Relue, Lakewood CO

It was an inspirational exhibit. My friend and I sat in the chairs and had a great spiritual conversation. Thank you for letting me know about it.
Lovely! We sat, looked, talk, reflected, learned.

09-29-17 Marcia Swords, Arvada CO

I love your exhibit – feels like I’m walking into a dream of color and beauty! Very Nurturing – thank you, Carrie!

10-03-17 Marti Stewart, Lakewood CO

Carrie – An amazing art show. Your artistic expression has manifested itself in a stunning exploration of life, color and essence. Congratulations.

10-17-17 Colby Hatfield, Lakewood CO

I have loved the exhibit, I walk around it every morning when I open and it centers me! Thanks

10-18-17 Lorene Joos, Arts Programming Curator, Lakewood Cultural Center, Lakewood CO

Beautiful, inspiring and moving. I am thinking of connection and change and the passage of time. Thanks for the illumination in my day.

10-19-17 Leslie Papa

Thanks so much for all these beautiful reminders to be aware.

10-19-17 Kathy Tolman, Wheat Ridge CO

Carrie – Your art is brilliant! Thank you for sharing it with us.

10-19-17 Steve Cinocco, Calistoga CA

Today I went to a gallery exhibit of paintings and planets created by a classmate from high school. Her work is beautiful, uplifting and full of life. Vibrant colors and a positive theme around the circle of life and the universe threaded through all her work. Each piece has beautiful colors, beautiful shapes, and beautiful texture.

10-20-17 Thalassa Naylor, Fair Oaks CA

Your paintings are animated and full of life. They are high energy.

10-20-17 Tierra Lalk, Lakewood CO

Carrie, As a retired house painter I especially enjoyed the textures and the interaction of the different colors. I enjoyed the cosmic unity, or how the bodies in the cosmos were depicted artistically in a unified manner. Very inspiring.

10-20-17 Clay Kirkland, Denver CO

It is a wonderful interactive exhibit. Some pieces resonated so intently that I found them magical. Thank you for sharing with all of us.

10-27-17 Maggie Duffey Corkery, Littleton CO

Both Jane and I enjoyed the pieces themselves and the experience of being in that space and how everything related to each other and the theme was wonderful. I am very glad we had the opportunity to see your beautiful work.

10-27-17 Kevin White, Lakewood CO