trampling the dwarf of ignorance

I love this iconic copper statue of the Hindu deity Shiva, created in 9th century India.  Shiva is the destroyer of evil, often depicted as he is here, dancing the cosmos into existence by trampling the Dwarf of Ignorance.  The purpose of his dance is “to release the souls of all men from the snare of illusion.”  Shiva symbolizes creation and destruction.  He destroys in order to create, tearing down to build again.

With roots reaching back into prehistory, Hinduism is the oldest of the world’s religions, and the most diverse.  Hinduism grants absolute and complete freedom of belief and worship, including Hindu Atheism.   It conceives the whole world as one family, and therefore it accepts all forms of beliefs and dismisses labels.  It has no single founder, no single scripture, no single deity, no single prophet, no priesthood, and no single way to reach salvation.

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band – richard serra

Richard Serra’s “Band” sculpture is something everyone should experience.

The huge scale and sheer mass of his meandering steel ribbon inside this placid room at the Broad Contemporary Art Museum is truly inspiring.  At 12 feet high and more than 70 feet long, it took two-and-a-half years to develop, and required the shaping of 200 tons of hot steel down to a single millimeter.

What I love most about it is the incredible deep rust color and lava-like patina.  It feels like rough stone, and when you sit inside the hollows, the inverted walls wrap you in a silent cone of sepia.  Art that envelopes you…amazing!

shibui / shibusa

shibui / shibusa

I’ve traveled through many cultures looking at how people express their creativity, and for me, there’s no aesthetic philosophy more refined than the Japanese approach.

What blows me away is how evident beauty is in Japanese culture.  Aesthetic values in Japan are an integral part of daily life, shaped by a set of ancient ideals.  The concepts are profoundly specific, and what amazes me most is that they have no direct translation in other cultures.

To describe each of them for you here would require a lot more reading than you probably have time for, but in a nutshell, they include terms like wabi (transient and stark beauty), sabi (the beauty of natural patina and aging), yūgen (profound grace and subtlety), shibui (beauty with inner implications) and other poetic values that express the cycle of life as a dynamic whole.

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hands on experience

I get lost looking at art.  It just makes me feel more human.  For me, the connection stems from knowing that each object is a direct reflection of the person who made it.  Whatever the reason for creating it – commissioned art, tortured art, practical, outrageous – it’s all a reflection of an individual hand.  Someone’s thought process.  Someone’s vision made real.

I’m always fascinated by the why, but more than anything else, I love to picture the person actually making it.  The tools.  The time invested.  The mistakes.  The everyday frustrations of the creative process.  The journey from a lump of clay.

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