Reverend Stephen Frost Ph.D.
Date of Birth: May 25, 1949
An art collector said recently about Frost’s art,
“you just have to get it-
Or, one can study and work for 30 or 40 years to really ‘get it.’ It’s a “beautiful career” according to Panikkar- see below.
To produce his Surreal, Abstract and Expressionist art, Father Frost gained competence in the making of poems and paintings, then the Western Traditions of Spirituality- Christian Mysticism, and over the same 60 years, Mahayana Tantra and Shamanistic Animism- as Holy-Lander Pilgrim/Picaro himself. (See www.nepsis.com: THE NEPSIS FOUNDATION: Cycle One, Letter to a Bishop.)
“These paintings are rare treasures:”
- “Frost’s work is like Mozart…” -At the University of California, Berkeley under the direction of Dr. Lewis Lancaster, ECAI (The Electronic Cultural Atlas) created a permanent site in the university’s digital collection for Frost’s Nepsis art and texts- 2010. (See www.ecai.org/NEPSIS.)
- The 1989 Gifford Lecturer (The highest award for critical work in Science and Religion) Raimundo Panikkar, a ‘Peritus’ at Vatican II, responded in writing to Frost’s Art and Religion projects with comments like, “a pioneering effort,” “a triumph,” against all odds. This was when Fr. Frost received his PhD and Doctoral hood in 1995- Berkeley. Panikkar, a famous international cultural leader himself, followed closely and supported Frost’s progress in Art and Religion for 30 years until he passed in 2010.
- 2013: Art Collectors in Chicago produced an Apple iBook catalog of Frost’s work: NEPSIS FOUNDATION. As well, they created this in-progress site: wp.nepsis.com
Many other such commendations are extant, gallery/museum exhibits and there were a number of public works and environments- But these are among works, whole locales, mysteriously destroyed or disappeared- “Mysticism has a dark side, Frost said, I have not avoided its challenges.” (See www.nepsis.com: THE NEPSIS FOUNDATION: Cycle One, Letter to a Bishop.)”
Steve Frost began his career as a studio artist c. 1970 under two famous students of Surrealist and Abstract Expressionist masters Ashile Gorky and Hans Hoffman—Alice Beamish and Hans Burkhardt.
In 1975, Frost commenced a project of religious studies that entailed living in three Catholic monasteries and later stays in Byzantine and Tantric Buddhist monasteries. These ‘studies’ included long, arduous pilgrimage as well as many other traditional yogic and shamanistic practices- Two years on Navajo and Pueblo reservations and many repeat visits to friends and locales there.
Frost’s paintings, drawings, and sculptures are artifacts of encounter with the other world that invite the viewer into the experience. As well, these works reflect a postmodern sensibility that charts a conscientious course through religious experience, study, art, the paranormal and scientific thought.
Following ordination as a Catholic priest in 1984 which included five years of theological, scriptural, spiritual and pastoral training, Frost completed a series of pastoral assignments in Southern California. This involved Skid Row in Los Angeles, an African American parish in South Central Los Angeles, an affluent parish in Huntington Beach, and a barrio parish in Santa Ana, California. During this period, a 40′ public mural in Southern California by Frost received national media coverage by more than a dozen newspaper and TV news programs, with caravans of interested people driving past this as yet unfinished mural.
While receiving the thrifty attention, at first, of private collectors, Frost has also studied with some of the top philosophers and theologians of the world, including advanced religious studies in aesthetics (the Tantric Mandala) at the cultural and political center of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in India, among others.
Painting and sculpture for Frost has been a mode of access to both understand and explore otherwise ineffable topics. Dr. Frost has been editor of two ECAI projects at the University of California, Berkeley. THE NEPSIS FOUNDATION, an oracular composition of essays, thesis, stories, novels, paintings, and poems, is being prepared at this time for submission as an interdisciplinary project at the University of California, Berkeley’s Electronic Cultural Atlas Initiative.
1995 Ph.D. GTU/[UC] Berkeley; Religion and the Arts.
1985 M. A., Theology, St. John’s Seminary, Camarillo, Ca. (Director: Dr. Raimundo Panikkar, UCSB)
1984 M. Div., St. John’s Seminary, Camarillo, California. 1973 B. A., Art and English Literature, CSUN.
RELIGION AND THE ARTS
2015 Exhibit of Frost paintings at Christ Cathedral, (formerly the famous Chrystal Cathedral), Diocese of Orange, CA- ‘ almost the only architecture in Southern California worthy of the History of Art.’ (ART: A NEW HISTORY, Johnson)
2013 Return to the Diocese of Orange as a retired priest. 1985 Mural painted over February, ’13. Art and Nepsis continue.
2012 Frost asked to contribute to the creation a new Dictionary of Annotations at University of California, Berkeley.
2010 ECAI at the University of California, Berkeley publishes an electronic archive of Frost opus: THE NEPSIS FOUNDATION.
2008-2013 ‘Artist in Residence,’ Christ in the Desert Benedictine Monastery near Abiquiu, New Mexico.
2000-07 Withdrew into the deserts of Southwestern U.S. Painted a series of ‘Nile and Siwa’ acrylic paintings: About 40 paintings. Sculpted a large head treating the idea of the Son of God—inspired by Alexander at Siwa. (An idea later embraced by the Lord Christ himself against the stern counsels of his own religious tradition.) Completed a collection of short fiction, four novels, and the concluding integration of the Nepsis project at UCB entitled THE NEPSIS FOUNDATION, ORACLE OF XIBALBA in 2007.
2000- Editor, Two UCB/ECAI Projects: Raimon Panikkar, Religion, and Aesthetics.
1997 Ph.D. Dissertation nominated to be published by the American Academy of Religion.
1996-99 Mural, “WHO TOLD YOU YOU WERE NAKED: THEOPOEISIS, A New Innocence” Oil on Canvas, 12′ x 8′ Sonoma State University Newman Hall- Center image of a triptych including, “MOTHER OF CONSOLATIONS” on the left and “REALIZATION, Road to Emmaus,” on the right- both 8′ X 6′.
1996 Oil on Canvas, CRUCIFIX WITH ANTLERS, chosen to illustrate the Good Friday page in the Church of Christ Illustrated Lectionary.
1996- 99 Instructor, California State University, Sonoma– upper division courses in Philosophy- Art in Religion: Models of Perception, The Shift of Consciousness in World Religions, Introduction to Religious Studies.
1995- Chaplain, Newman Center at California State University, Sonoma.
1992 Three solo exhibitions: Liturgy Santa Fe, Berkeley; Bade Museum, Berkeley; Grace Cathedral, San Francisco. This series included associated seminars and a catalog.
1990 Exhibition, Dominican School of Theology, GTU Berkeley. Studio: St. Albert’s College, Oakland.
1988- Studio: Episcopal Church Divinity School, Berkeley: 3000(!) sq.ft.
1988 Solo exhibition, St. Luke Gallery, Long Beach, Ca.–Covered by both L.A. Times and Long Beach Press-Telegram. Carried by: Printworks Gallery, Long Beach; Tamsen Munger Gallery, Fresno; Sylvia Greer Artworks, Los Angeles.
1987- Artist-in-Residence, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Long Beach, Ca. This award lasted for one year. Began a series of prose fiction that has produced a collection of short fiction, four novels, and the continued integration of the Nepsis project at UCB.
1986 Exterior Mural 40′ x 20′. Santa Ana, California. This work and events connected with it were covered by many newspapers, radio and TV stations nationwide.
1984 Ordained a Roman Catholic Deacon- and Priest on the Vigil of Pentecost.
1983- Several videos
1981 Multi-media presentations about Latin America; Culture, politics, artistic and social concerns. Travel to Dehra Dun, Uttar Pradesh, India to study Buddhism with Tibetan Nyingmapa Abbot and Root Guru.
1980 Met Rev. Dr. Raimundo Panikkar, Peritus at Vatican II and Gifford Lecturer, 1989- et al.
1979- Entered St. John Seminary, Camarillo for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange, Ca.
1975- 1977 Lived in three Roman Catholic Monasteries. Continue painting. Two ‘commissions’ for life-size, cast concrete sculptures in California and Utah.
1973- Exhibited paintings in/represented by several L.A. galleries and private dealers. Organized various poetry readings w/other poets at UCLA, Valyermo Fall Arts Festival, et al.
1970- I hitch-hiked around the perimeter of the continental United States. This commenced what became a religious ‘practice’ for 25 years- including vowed commitments to prayer and service (…goodness, truth and beauty).
1949- 1970 Frost lived with parents on 44 acres in San Francisquito Canyon which feeds into Santa Clarita Valley north of Los Angeles, California- before it became as it is now, literally the northern edge of the ‘development’ of southern California and urban sprawl. It was here that Frost was exposed for 20 years to what he later describes in terms of the Genius Loci, Dragons of Being, localization of Grace, or the animate, psyche of Nature. This is the basis of his sense of aesthetics, theology and asceticism developed later.
ALSO, SEE ABOUT ARTIST AT NEPSIS CHICAGO SITE