I am having an opening and reception for a show of some of my “Tide” series images on Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013 from 4:00 to 6:00 pm, at the Zen Life & Meditation Center of Chicago, located at 38 Lake Street, in Oak Park, IL, 60302. My works will be on view at the Center through October and November and will also be available for purchase.
I have been working on these images since I came back from visiting Grand Manan in Canada at the end of June 2013. June and I spent a wonderful week there with Peter Cunningham and Ara Fitzgerald. Because this island is in the Bay of Fundy, it is subject to extreme tidal movements several times every day. I spent many hours walking out on the beaches at low tide. Since then, I have been exploring the metaphor of “tides” which is very rich for me. I find tides to be very comforting – a large movement of sea and sand on a daily basis – the way the earth breathes.
These works are all digital images, done on a wacom tablet connected to an iMac computer in a software program called Corel Painter x3. I am working from my own photographs and occasionally from Peter Cunnningham’s. I enjoy studying the relationship of water, light, sand, rhythms, waves, rocks, texture, form and space. It is not until very recently that I have clarified that what really drives this work for me is a deep need to integrate form and space, to realize what in the Mahaprajna Paramita Heart Sutra is said to be “form is emptiness; emptiness is form.”
Sometimes my images are very busy and chaotic. They are very spacious and full of texture, but the form gets lost. So I am trying to realize through my work some balance in which the form is present but not solidified or frozen. The form is in the space, and the space is in the form and they co-create each other.
I believe the image I am attaching to this post, best exemplifies my fullest realization of this attempt so far. In my earlier life, I worked as a professional painter for about 13 years. I worked with oils and canvas, and did primarily figurative work. I stopped painting altogether when I co-founded and started the Zen Center of Hawaii in 1992 with my wife, June Tanoue.
Last year, on retreat in Wisconsin, I was inspired by the beauty of nature and the Hay River where we spent our time in deep silence and reflection, to begin painting again. I wouldn’t really call what I do painting, because a painting implies something that is a one-of-a-kind work of art. These are digital images which I can print out many times. I can also do numerous variations on an image. So I suppose they could be called “digital art” or “digital prints” though this sounds a bit cold to me. As far as my own process goes, I still feel that I am painting when I am working on these.
I’m grateful to be able to actualize and realize some creative vision again in my life. It gives me a great deal of joy and happiness to share these images with others, so I hope you will join me for my opening or come by the Zen Center in the next few months and enjoy these digital prints.