Talk for Closing Reception - Objects of Contemplation

These are the notes from the brief talk I gave at Chandra Cerrito Contemporary on February 13, 2016:

There exists a long lineage of shamans as well as Zen and Taoist teachers, who as part of their practice make art. This is a lineage with which I feel an affinity.

If I consider a lineage of artists in the way the art world thinks about artists, then the names that come to mind are John Cage, Joseph Beuys, Agnes Martin, Vincent Van Gogh, and even Robert Irwin, but it is not their art so much that I have an affinity toward, but how they think. Each of them, in their own way, has a shamanic aspect to their work.  Shamans help us to see into non-ordinary reality.

This piece is part of my chant series, a body of work that has a shamanic, as well as Taoist component to it. Making these drawings offers a way for me to deepen my understanding of Lao Tzu’s ancient philosophical text on how to live. Through the process of working with each chant, I can feel the Tao’s wisdom inscribing itself on my deep consciousness in a way that I can’t verbally explain and that feels weird to even say aloud.  It is a felt experience at a cellular level.

The title of this one is chpt. 6: it never runs dry. “It never runs dry” is the chant held within the piece, written over and over creating this woven tapestry that you see here.  It never runs dry is a reminder that there exists an inexhaustible energy from which we can draw.

You can think of this piece as a mandala, a yantra – a pattern to assist you with experiencing a meditative connection to the chi-tissue that forms the cosmos – the chi-tissue that is everything – this floor, these walls, you, me, your coat, purse, the air, the moon, sky- as the Taoists say – all of the ten thousand things.  It’s a pattern to assist with understanding that all life is Absence and Presence. Formlessness coming into form; form returning to formlessness.

You can think of it as a mirror that reflects of that which you are made , or as a window through which you can view a representation of non-ordinary reality.

It is best if you stand about this distance (4 - 5 feet) from the piece so that you can see more than the underlying grid– from here you can see the swirling, arcing patterns that surprisingly, mysteriously appear out of the repeated drawing of this particular chant.

I brought with me 3 translations of chpt. 6. that I thought I would share with you. (read from The Tao)