Senmenzu of Longing

About Stillness & Waiting Series

Volumes have been written about Buddhist art and Zen art.  I'm not interested in adding to that conversation, nor am I qualified to do so. 

In these works on paper, I start from Zen artforms that have moved me for many years.  But instead of recreating culturally foreign forms, I am exploring them on my own terms... with visual elements outside any one culture and close to my (perhaps everyone's) heart and mind:  The moon, our other planets, my own human heartbeat. 

The red seals/chops in this work were made for me.  One is my name-image and the others were carved for me by a young poet/seal carver in China.  These reference the titles and related imagery.

Senmenzu of Longing (Mercury's Northern Hemisphere) (I through IV)

Also a series of 6.  "Senmenzu" translates from Japanese as "Fan Plane View" and is a particularly lovely paper shape used in both Japan and China.  It simply means that the paper or image is the arc shape of an open folding fan.  Though they probably started as paintings made into fans, Senmenzu are scroll mounted and often displayed in Chado/Tea Rooms.  When I was looking over the photographs in NASA's Planetary Gazette, I realized that the images of Mercury and Venus were, in fact, Senmenzu...

Shown is the Mercury (Northern Hemisphere) series.  Each original photo is skewed slightly to reflect traditional Senmenzu proportions, and printed with a cyan overlay.  The four together would create a complete topography of the northern face of the planet.  A small Enso is painted around one of Mercury's craters and guilded in Paladium leaf.  Both an inclusion of a visual element from the tradition and my circling of a specific crater... One that perhaps I'm especially longing to visit.  

Giclee, palladium leaf and ink on Kitakata paper, 13x19"