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)

Initiation at OMR

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, 2022


The pictorial work of this first stage of Initiation (Departure) has a personal dimension of mirroring and reflection 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 Initiation: Departure 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


- on view from May 26th -



- on view from June 26th -


Initiation: Overture at LAGO / ALGO

February - August 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 galleries joségarcía,mx and OMR in collaboration.

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 else (still unclear).

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.

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 is part of Lago / Algo’s inaugural exhibition “Form Follows Energy”, which opened last February and will continue until August 2022. More information here.

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

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) 1, 2021

Acrylic on canvas  -  300 x 190 cm

Initiation (Prelude)

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.


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)

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

INITIATION: Tearing the Veil
2019. 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.

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.