“Tantra Homage”

This summer, for a month, I made a small painting almost every morning when I arrived at the studio, an homage to the Tantric art I’d seen in a beautiful book called Tantra Song. Tantra is an ancient Hindu tradition of beliefs and practices that seeks to channel the divine energy of the cosmos into the human microcosm. The book showcases a series of curiously modern looking paintings made of great simplicity that nevertheless hold our attention and create a sense of wonder. They were mostly made in the 17th century though Tantra itself dates to the 5th. The artists who made the paintings in the book were anonymous but came from a tradition in which painting was a kind of meditation in which the artist might connect with something sublime and make it manifest. We artists are always trying to do that, of course.

Seeing these beautiful, simple images inspired me to begin my own experiment: to sit down in my studio in the morning and make one simple painting every day on a small board. I didn’t plan, just sat down and started. And every day something different arrived, often a surprise. I felt happy when I did them. Not Tantra but a small homage. Some are now included at the small works show at The Arsenal Center for the Arts in Watertown, MA. More are then going on to be shown at Templeton General on A Street in Boston near South Station.

(Second row, left. Poster by Matt Jatkola.)

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