• Artist wisdom
  • The Path and the Destination

    Bill Viola, artist extraordinare and seeker, was asked to select objects from the Asia Society’s collection a few years ago for a show called The Creative Eye. Here he responds to the 17th century Gandavyuha Manuscript from Nepal: . . If you engage in travel you will arrive. -Ibn Arabi (1165-1240) When the need to […]

  • Art/Language
  • Subliminal Knowledge

    The Twins, Castor and Pollux Dorothea Rockburne I think the reason I paint, or that I do whatever I do, is to deal with (I don’t think of it as unconscious) subliminal knowledge. And I do think that one has knowledge about things that haven’t occured yet, and I try to work for those kinds […]

  • Art/Language
  • Kabir: Swaying Between

    Between the conscious and the unconscious, the mind has put up a swing: all earth creatures, even the supernovas, sway between these two trees, and it never winds down. Angels, animals, humans insects by the million, also the wheeling sun and moon; ages go by, and it goes on. Everything is swinging: heaven, earth, water, […]

  • Aboriginal art
  • Land and Art Down Under

    Painting by Dorothy Napangardi Tree trunks, Alice Springs . . . Painting by Johnny Warangkula Todd River bed, Gum tree, Alice Springs . . . Painting by Kathleen Petyarre Simpson Desert, Northern Territory . . It needs to be remembered that Central and Western Desert art works, and the narratives in which they are embedded, […]

  • Art Making
  • Crossing the Line from Personal to Public

    The following comment was made by Elatia Harris in response to the posting Bathed in Milk and Honey: Could it be that the “bathed in milk and honey moment” or better still the “eye-painting moment” for a work of art in the West is the moment it is exhibited before a public? We long so […]

  • Art Making
  • Bathed in Milk and Honey

    When the emphasis is on the metonymic, it is not only the mode of appreciation that is different, but the process of creation as well. When Indian artists carve these sacred figures, they proceed by accessing spiritual states of mind in which there is no separation between the creator and the created object. Western artists […]

  • Aboriginal art
  • Ramanujan

    Continuing on the topic of Denise Green’s Metonymy… One of the seminal influences on Green’s view of art is A. K. Ramanujan. In his essay, “Is there an Indian way of thinking?” Ramanujan discusses the differences that exist between European and Indian approaches to reality. Several of his comments suggest parallels between Indian and aboriginal […]

  • Aboriginal art
  • Metonymy

    I traveled to the center of Australia with the hope that I could step deeper into understanding why I have such a powerful attraction to aboriginal art. For 15 years I have been studying these works, often only in reproduction, and my attachment has only deepened with time. While in Alice Springs, I must have […]

  • Left speechless
  • Red dirt

    A dusting of paprika-colored sand permeates every surface of my backpack and clothes. Even the toothpaste tube has a gritty residue. I’d like to think these particles are on assignment, carrying out an esoteric mission that only the small entities in life can undertake. (According to the ancient hymn/myth, Inanna is rescued from the underworld […]