Our Visionaries

Current Exhibition:

The Visionary Experience: Saint Francis to Finster

AVAM Oct. 4, 2014 – Aug. 30, 2015

AVAM's all-new exhibition features a spirited centennial celebration of America's most prolific self-tutored and "on fire" artist, Rev. Howard Finster. With illuminating works by visionaries: Ingo Swann, Jimi Hendrix, Christine Sefolosha, Walter Russell, Robert Crumb, Paolo Soleri, Dr. Robert Hieronimus, Terrence Howard, plus an exploration of inventive new spiritual groups: Unarius Academy of Science, The Source Family, and many more!

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Photo of Donald Pass by his wife, Jackie

Donald Pass

(1930–2010)

Biographical Timeline:

September 9, 1930, Donald Pass is born in Cheshire, England. While still a young and dreamy boy, Pass begins painting landscapes of the countryside near his home. "I have seen angels since I was twelve and occasionally since... I've always been psychic. It's just another way of seeing." His mother strongly disapproves and young Pass learns to keep his visions to himself.

At age 15, on a beautiful sunlit day, Pass decides to play hooky from school. Walking carefree through the countryside, he sees a clear vision of a lion-faced angel with luminous wings standing by a row of green hedges. Pass paints his vision of this angel and wins a school prize.

At 17, Pass happily leaves home to pursue art and its study. He learns to paint portraits, still lives and landscapes and begins to explore abstraction. He marries and fathers three children. Pass teaches at the Liverpool College of Art, where one of his young students is the soon to become legendary Beatle, John Lennon.

By the 1960s, Pass is widely exhibited and sells well among the top fashionable London abstract artists of his day. He also creates a few Christian-themed religious paintings that are bought by major museums.

In 1965, Pass's marriage hits the rocks. He struggles to keep painting. In Wales he meets Jacqueline, recently widowed, and declares he can't live without her and will love her forever. He decides to divorce his wife. His painting begins to flourish again, with glowing colors and vibrant shapes. The Drian Gallery in London mounts a one-man show of his work, and his Crucifixion painting is purchased by the Skopje Museum in Macedonia (formerly Yugoslavia).

Valentine's Day, 1967, Pass marries Jackie, the great love of his life.

In 1969, Donald Pass lives in upscale Chelsea as a successful painter, exhibiting in London and internationally. All this will soon change.

DeVon Smith's Robot Familt

Donald Pass, Untitled (triptych/verso), Collection of Rich Shapero

Late 1969, after Pass experiences a series of psychic events, including a vision of a golden face that appeared at his window and whose light expanded to fill his Chelsea home, he is drawn to travel and sketch at the Cuckfield village cemetery in rural Sussex. Staring at a young pilot's grave affixed with a winged Royal Air Force pilot's insignia, a great darkness descends and an intense light, unlike anything he had ever known, appears. Pass witnesses an all encompassing, animated Resurrection-like scene, accompanied by a sure sense of divine compassion for all beings. Donald Pass is never again personally or artistically the same.

During the 1970s, unable to find meaning or desire to paint what is fashionable in the art market, Donald and Jackie fast become greatly impoverished. Jackie remains his wife and partner as Pass struggles to keep painting portraits.

In 1987, forced to take lodging with Jackie's daughter, Jenny, in Oxford, Pass and Jackie hang the only three paintings of his Resurrection experience they have so far managed to keep with them. Sir John Rothenstein, former Director of the Tate Gallery, visits and sees enormous value in the work. He organizes a one-man show in Newington House, nearby. Encouraged, Pass begins painting in earnest to better visually capture his life-changing Resurrection experience—an effort that will wholly occupy his imagination over the entire last quarter of his life.

December 3, 2010, after a long illness, Donald Pass dies, surrounded by his loving wife Jacqueline and a dear friend at their side.

Links:

To learn more about Donald Pass, visit: http://donaldpass.com.