Artist Portfolio Magazine’s 10 Art Competition
Years ago, a friend sent me the Prajnaparamita, known as the Heart Sutra based on realizing the non-conceptual simplicity of reality, “form is emptiness, emptiness is form”. Having a heightened interest about how mind works and how mind is, reading the Heart Sutra changed my life on the spot! Within a week I was practicing and studying Tibetan Buddhist meditation with Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, a Tibetan Buddhist meditation master and artist. I received ‘pointing out instructions’ from him which brings the investigation and recognition of mind’s flawless nature into personal experience cutting through conceptual obscurations that are our endless, dualistic thoughts and emotions. My abstract contemplative work is completely informed by these realizations. My path of making visual images became the inner structure of mind and how its’ patterns of confusion obscure our recognition of this vast space of ceaseless energy. For ten years I studied and practiced meditation with Trungpa Rinpoche until his death in1987. Since that time my work has gone through a process of increased familiarity with how mind works and how to present that familiarity thru visual images.
The development of each piece is experiential using collaged drawing and painting on paper with disparate techniques and specific titles discussing how mind, when active, creates collages of emotional thought patterns, like in a dream. The images are intended to be intimate, yet not isolated since the activity of mind is the same for everyone yet personal because each of us is affected by our thoughts and emotions differently. The work is unrefined with an immediate, handmade, unprepared quality, working with the ordinary characteristics of the paper meaning rips, wrinkles, aging, fragile-ness and light sensitivity. A sense of impermanence representing our life progression. My process is filled with discovery and surprise, playing an edge within myself with deliberateness and imperfection without conceptualization, trusting mind’s innate clarity. For me, oil on paper collage is the most responsive way to investigate the mind. Whether awake or dreaming, mind is like a collage, appearing as countless variations of thoughts and images, as an over-lapping unfinished aesthetic that embraces the unresolved, open-ended imperfections of living. Viewing mind and collage this way contributes to the hands-on realness of intimacy and immediacy of seemingly non-sequitur abstraction with a touch of representational expression. I recall instructions from Trungpa Rinpoche, ‘art arises from a deep merging of mind and heart, seeing from within, drawing from pure awareness without visually grasping, beginning from uncertainty without reference point’. Creating freely without visual judgment; spontaneous and personal, I use tools and techniques that are intimate and varied, anything that can make a mark with controlled spontaneity. I would like the images and titles to create an accessible, personal space, like hearing a familiar voice.
Essentially I view my work as an evolving inquiry into art making and the principles of Buddhist contemplative philosophy, a pursuit not unlike cleaning the dust off the windows in a house in order to see the world and oneself more clearly and precisely.