There may be no time more suited to the study of rites of passage than the threshold between the end of modernity and the uncertain future of humanity.

Michael Meade-excerpt from his foreword to the book “Rites and Symbols of Initiation” by Mircea Eliade


April - August 2022

An ongoing project at OMR gallery exploring the different stages
of a self-induced initiatory process.

Humanity shares a series of common symbolisms. An abstract language that derives from dreams or visions that we see repeated in different cultures in diverse forms. In this shared imagination, there are also strong fractures resulting from the immense individual subjectivity. The artist Ana Montiel (Spain, 1981) explores these ideas and their representation in all their stratae, from the most intimate to the universal, interspersing her interpersonal reading of things with the transpersonal. With the divine and the magical, Initiation is presented as a continuous process that intuitively puts our perceptual capacity to the test.

An extensive overlaying of pigments covers the gallery’s exhibition space like an expansive wave that irradiates from the artworks of this project. This clear imprint of the work that the artist has been realizing over the past few weeks, beyond accentuating the immersive character of her painting style, turns the viewer into a witness of her exhaustive production process. With this gesture, the artist’s habitual hermeticism she tends to work with from her studio is vulnerated, raising a series of underlying topics in her work that have not yet been posted in such an open manner. The project has a total duration of four months and is divided into 3 stages: Departure, Limbo, and Transfiguration.

The 3 distinct phases clearly allude to Joseph Campbell’s hero myth: The hero departs toward a new adventure, its initiation, and finally, the hero’s return to their village as a transformed being and the conflict this entails. 
This archetypical structure is shared in multiple cultures’ narratives and seized by Montiel to explore her own journey.

An initiatory journey tangled with deep thresholds and existential questions. The search for the sublime merges with a partial understanding of psychedelics, botanical studies, sexuality, the cosmos, science, shamanism, paganism, love, or nostalgia for a nomadic past. The artist works on the idea of myth under a Jungian tradition: as a psychic phenomenon that reveals the soul’s nature.

Initiation reminds us that we are in continuous transformation, praising and magnifying it through the use of symbols and perceptual stimuli. It helps us question what we know and to stop denying other kinds of wisdom. To open ourselves up to other possibilities of being without acting condescendingly toward what we do not understand, what we do not want to see or are terrified to accept.

In a permanent search, Ana Montiel will continue working in the gallery’s exhibition space throughout the 3 stages, fading all traces of their beginning or end. In constant recalibration, mimicking the Earth’s magnetic poles. The artist visualizes her journey through a misty walk as a circular river, which its grooves generously widen at each turn.

Text by Enrique Giner de los Ríos

Clicking above you can see in detail a few close-up pictures of the entoptic paintings part of Initiation: Departure at OMR


Beneath this threshold I wait for the things I thought I was and the things I thought I needed to dissolve. My ideas, dogmas and beliefs crumble and give way to something different. Here I await what I can become. I advance through the opaque mist of this forest of fictions, with perseverance and compassion.

This transition is a state without a fixed form; like the magnetic pole of the Earth, in constant self-questioning, in constant recalibration. This is a journey in the shape of a circular river, which makes the groove deeper with each pass.

I build a bridge to the interior. I silence my reflection in the other as I take distance. I try to avoid mirrors or social conditionings. Crossing the bridge, it only remains to continue going forward through the undergrowth, until reaching the lighthouse inside.

Ana Montiel
Mexico City, 2022

First Stage


- on view from April 28th -

The pictorial work of this first stage of Initiation (Departure) has a personal dimension of mirroring and reflecting with a past self. More specifically, myself from spring of 2018, when during an artistic residency in New York, I began producing artworks with this granular technique (entoptic), as an analogy of the uncertain mist of human perception.

My intention for the first stage of Initiation was to produce a series of diptychs that unsuccessfully sought symmetry, to demonstrate the impossibility of a mirror without distortion, be it the mirror of one with oneself, of one with another being, of one with its environment, etc.

The phenomenology of human experience is a subjective game disguised as impartiality. Our programming is a distorted mirror that keeps enveloping us.

I feel that trying to reconnect with the Ana from spring of 2018, completes a lap around the circular river that I mentioned before, to then continue moving forward, with the intention of inaugurating another cycle.

In the works you see here I have prioritized trying to capture the strength of their production process instead of trying to achieve certain perfection in the final result. These paintings may not be as meticulous as some past ones, but they are definitely freer.

Ana Montiel
Initiation: Departure at an early stage of its progress.

Ana Montiel producing the artworks for Initiation: Departure,
photographed by Sol Oosel.

The four diptychs for Departure have a different letter in their name as a reference to theologian Raimon Panikkar’s explanation of human experience:

“What we call experience (E) is a combination of personal experience, which is ineffable, unique each time and foreign to repetition (e), conveyed by our memory (m), modeled by our imagination (i), and conditioned by its reception (r) in the cultural context of our time.”

             Initiation: Departure (r) 1/2, 2022
                150x120cm - Acrylic on canvas

        Initiation: Departure (m) 1/2, 2022
            220x150cm - Acrylic on canvas

Initiation: Departure (i) 1/2 and 2/2, 2022
    Exhibition shots by Ramiro Chaves

Process video by Danilo Guardado

Second Stage


- on view from May 26th -

Surrounded by the mist of the uncertain
I paint the flame in the ninth arcana

Immersing myself in repetition to go deeper
while I remind myself to look for the inner sun

The columns don’t appear solid anymore
neither my ideas

I need to remain silent a bit longer
waiting for a shape to emerge

Ana Montiel, May 2022

View of the painted skylight during Initiation: Limbo

Awake, After a Lifelong Reverie Only to Find More Uncertainty (15), 2022

Acrylic on canvas  -  200 x 150 cm   -   78 3/4 x

Awake, After a Lifelong Reverie Only to Find
More Uncertainty (17), 2022

Acrylic on canvas
78 3/4 x 59 1/8 in
200 x 150 cm  

Process video by Danilo Guardado

Awake, After a Lifelong Reverie Only to Find More Uncertainty #6, #3 and #2 (2022)

 Awake, After a Lifelong Reverie Only to Find More Uuncertainty #4 and #7 (2022)


Third Stage


- on view from June 30th -

                Exhibition shot by Ramiro Chaves

an energy inprint coming to the surface
the inner becoming the outer

another chapter in an ever expanding journey
as we navigate this endless becoming

            Initiation: Transfiguration (Think That You Are Everywhere at Once, on Land, at Sea, in Heaven) 6, 2022                        Acrylic on canvas. 200 x 300 cm / 78.74 x 118.11 inches.

            Initiation: Transfiguration (Think That You Are Everywhere at Once, on Land, at Sea, in Heaven) 3, 2022
               Acrylic on canvas. 150x400 cm / 59.05 x 157.48 inches (two panels).

“By elucidating the underlying metaphoric structures — which have been variously referred to as archetypes, deep structures, or primordial images — we are uncovering something of humanity's common language.”

Ralph Metzner (The Unfolding Self: Varieties of Transformative Experience)

Initiation: Transfiguration (Think That You Are Everywhere at Once, on Land, at Sea, in Heaven) 4, 2022
Acrylic on canvas. 150 x 800 cm / 59.05 x 314.96 inches (four panels).

Photograph by Ramiro Chaves

Detail images from the Initiation: Transfiguration paintings

                Initiation: Transfiguration (Think That You Are Everywhere at Once, on Land, at Sea, in Heaven) 3, 2022                                                                     Acrylic on canvas. 150x400 cm / 59.05 x 157.48 inches (two panels).

Some of the Initiation: Transfiguration artworks in progress
on the gallery floor, side-by-side with paintings from
Initiation: Limbo hanged on the walls.

Initiation: Overture at LAGO / ALGO

February 9th - July 31st 2022

An introduction to Initiation is being presented at the inaugural exhibition at Lago/Algo a new cultural venue in Mexico City. The show was organised by the art galleries joségarcía,mx and OMR.

Four or my large scale paintings were installed together with a sculpture installation by Pia Camil in a designated area with natural light and views to the Chapultepec lake.

The focus of this introduction to Initiation was reflecting on the idea of taking distance, from someone or something. To destroy in order to make space for something (still unclear) else .

The title of the large triptych (6 meters wide by 3 meters tall) in this installation is an homage to Krzysztof Kieślowski* and Dante Alighieri.

* Kristof Kiewslowsky and Ana Montiel were born on the same day, exactly 40 years apart.

Form Follows Energy at Lago/Algo - Ana Montiel’s “Initiation: Separation” paintings with “Bluejeaneando” sculptures by Pia Camil. Photograph by Sol Oosel.

This scerpt from Alighieri's Paradiso (present in Preisner’s Van den Bundenmayer) is written in the back of each of the three panels of the large scale triptych:

L'acqua ch'io prendo giá mai non si corse;
Minerva spira è conducemi Appollo,
è nove Muse mi dimostran l'Orse.


The waters that I sail were never crossed before
Minerva breathes, Apollo guides
and the nine Muses point me toward the Bears

The names of the other three individual paintings are an homage to Henryk Górecki’s "Symphony No. 3, Op. 36 - III. Lento - Cantabile semplice".
It is an elegy to loss and sorrow. Each threshold in life can bring change, and therefore loss in one way or another. 

dismantling the idea of us
dismantling the ideas surrounding our existence

separating ourselves from our dogmas
our ideas
the things we thought we were
the things we thought we wanted or needed
from the distance we’ll start to become

Ana Montiel, 2022

Prelude to Initiation was part of Lago / Algo’s inaugural exhibition “Form Follows Energy” (February-August 2022).

INITIATION: SEPARATION (Symphony No.3, Op. 36 - III. Lento - Cantabile semplice) 1, 2021

Acrylic on canvas
300 x 190 cm

INITIATION: SEPARATION (Concerto en mi mineur - SBI 152 - Version de 1802) 2022

Acrylic on canvas.
300 x 600 cm

The two songs

Symphony No. 3, Op. 36 - III. Lento - Cantabile semplice by Henryk Górecki

Van den Bundenmayer: Concerto en mi mineur - SBI 152 - Version de 1802 - Zbigniew Preisner



INITIATION: SEPARATION (Symphony No.3, Op. 36 - III. Lento - Cantabile semplice) #3, 2021

INITIATION: SEPARATION (Symphony No.3, Op. 36 - III. Lento - Cantabile semplice) #5 displayed with a sculpture by Jose Dávila



These artworks are a meditation on symbolic thresholds and unintentional rites of passage.
Like The Fool in the major arcana we move forward into the uncertain,
the unknown,  the uncomfortable. Knowing this too shall pass.

Ana Montiel, 2019


INITIATION: Anointed for the Journey 2020. Digital painting on panel.

Now we wake
after a lifelong reverie
only to find a threshold that unveils more uncertainty

a line becoming a point
(speaking a tongue without tense)

a wave becoming a circle
(circular time being unveiled)

a blurred portal making us lose sight of ourselves
(an unexpected initiation)

Ana Montiel, 2019

INITIATION: An Unexpected Initiation
2020. Digital painting on panel.

INITIATION: Tearing the Veil2019. Digital painting on panel.

INITIATION: Free Fall Into Uncertainty
2019. Digital painting on panel.

an initiation, a rare conjunction, an opening into ourselves

a threshold blurred beyond recognition
what I thought I was and what I think I am are the same
delusions projected.

an intention, a step forward, a floating emotion rising to the surface
we all being and becoming
never not changing.

holding hands while we waltz into the unknown 
any definition will only become fiction.

Ana Montiel, 2019

INITIATION: We’ll Take a Bow and Start a Journey Inward 
      2020. Digital painting on panel.

              INITIATION: Deepening Into Our Shared Fictions.               2020. Digital painting on panel.

INITIATION: A Prelude Into Meaning.
    2020. Digital painting on panel.