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Soften Your Eyes: Art and Meditation

Miyako Yoshinaga Art Prospects
547 West 27th Street, 2nd Floor, 212-268-7132
July 9 - August 7, 2009
Reception: Thursday, July 9, 6 - 8 PM
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M.Y. ART PROSPECTS is pleased to present a summer group exhibition, Soften Your Eyes: Art and Meditation, from July 9 to August 7, 2009. Opening reception will be held on Thursday, July 9, 6-8PM. Summer viewing hours are Tues. – Fri. 11-6 & by appointment.

Many visual artists create their work through a meditative process as they often call it. While meditation links to religious or spiritual experience, it aims at deeper self-awareness and freedom without losing sight of reality. We try to benefit from this ancient practice in every aspect of contemporary life. This summer exhibition selects the artworks that provide a perspective for the ending of thought, a dimension beyond time and more in touch with the uderlying reality of the universe.

Bianca Sforni’s “NARMADA” (2006) is a panoramic photograph of the River Narmada at dawn, the most sacred of five holy rivers in India. While the artist was capturing this harmonious moment in time, the construction of a controversial hydroelectric dam was underway nearby. This scene is personal as well as iconic, urging us to think about both the irreversible loss of purity in nature and the swift passing of time. Similarly expressing the significance of the moment, Ming Mur-Ray draws a simple circle with a brush of burning sage. The idea of drawing a circle recalls the daily practice of Zen monks who interpret the circle as a symbol of enlightenment, strength, and the universe. Mur-Ray’s circle drawing reveals the tension between one’s mental state and a natural force such as fire. Michelle Provenzano has her own daily self-forming practice before she starts her main work. Calling them “Slips,” Provenzano draws vulnerable and passive figures – i.e. animal creatures, hermaphrodites, children – in ballpoint ink and colored pencil. Their interactions, in imagined space, reveal a basic human desire and anxiety of intimacy and conformity.

Jonathan Hammer interprets a natural cycle as a long meditative process. The various sculptural forms of a simple twig (“Twig” series, 2004) are drawn entirely in silver. As the years go by, the color eventually changes and tarnishes, just as a twig itself decays and perishes. Yumi Kori’s “Portable Infinity Device”(2007) invites the viewer to look through a narrow frame within a small box she constructed with a sanded acrylic board and paper. Instead of any image, all you can see is light-filled open space, beyond any dimension, evoking infinity.

Meditation has been explored by artists in cyber space as well. In Marcin Ramocki’s video “Virtual Singer”(2003), the motionless singer, trapped behind a wooden fence, manifests a rudimentary freedom through random computer-generated seeding, producing a mechanical sounding chant. The randomness of the singer’s melody reflects stratified, simulated, and the monotony of our routines. “Suburban Studio”(2009) by Paul Slocum appropriates a MySpace image of a man in a hip-hop recording studio with a subtle static animation of dark fields, emphasizing the passing of time and the emptiness in our daily life.
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