Mirrors and Walls

 
 

where it started

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Buddhas in the News

This project began with the daily practice of drawing the buddha on a front page of the daly newspaper.

In short, it was a daily reminder to step back and see an reflection on the current news cycle—or the current day’s headlines— which was increasingly one more horrific example of what I felt to be the world around me being turned inside out, where the things I believe in (respect, decency, integrity) had become overshadowed by intolerance, hatred of the other, and plain human cruelty. It was the day’s news, but it’s not how I care to live the short life I have here.

 
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Castlerigg Stone Circle, UK

where i went

This summer I was part of a drawing research conference and had the opportunity to travel to the north of England and visit a few Druid stone circles.


4000 years ago a civilization had engineered this mysterious geometric configurations of enormous boulders, beautifully engaged within the spectacular landscape and here they still were. In the context of the exhibition I knew I’d be installing, it made me realize what a short time we all live on this planet and how quickly we too will be gone, along with the legacy we leave behind us. It begs the question of what exactly this is, as even today the Amazon is burning.

It puts the day’s news in perspective.

 
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walls.

2000 years ago the Roman Empire extended from the UK through central Europe and across the Mediterannean to Northern Africa. Hadrian’s Wall was built, maybe to define a boundary, maybe for economic purposes. Part of the wall are still standing today. In recent centuries locals farmer built stone walls to keep livestock in and delineate their property lines, probably from stones used by the Romans to build their wall. Walls are built. Walls come down and new walls are built. These things come full circle. Rome, once the largest empire ever to exist on this planet is now is a single urban area in Italy. Great nations rise and fall.

installation notes

The photos inserted between the newspapers/drawings were taken one morning at the Castelerigg. I parked about mile down a dirt road and walked between sheep farms not sure if I was in “the right place” or not. But the morning was cool and with a little drizzle, and the clouds were dramatic—always in motion—overhead. Maybe threatening a storm. Maybe not. Where else would I have possible wanted to be at that moment. I passed a stone wall and beyond that was a plowed field with the circle of stones. I climbed over the wall (on stone steps leading over the wall suggesting I wasn’t trespassing) and took my shoes off. I walked inside the circle and felt the cool grass on solid earth beneath me. The photos were taken when I walked into the middle, suggested by a bare path maybe from other visitors, and slowly turned to the right taking frames. The images in the gallery to the left, repeat this (from left to right). For most of the morning, I was the sole visitor. I tried to feel for any trace of the people who had come there before me.

As I was installing the gallery to the right, I incidentally picked up the top image from the stack and noticed that the stack was in descending order suggesting that if I installed them in this order they would be reading from right to left. Making the link to the title “mirrors” this seemed appropriate. This was underscored when I realized that the two galleries were “mirror images.” Circles and underworlds brought me to Dante’s view of the universe. The spiraling down to the left, to spiral up to the right.