The word “meditation” has its roots in the Latin meditari meaning to give thought, cogitate, heal. This exhibition Meditating on Nature will present a selection of abstract expression come upon by encountering nature in a meditative manner - that is, by calming the mind and focusing awareness. Rather than depicting nature exactly as it is, the artists featured here offer a rich range of expression produced by viewing nature through the lens of philosophy, or the spiritual realm, or as a mirror reflecting their own imaginings.
Hisakado Tsuyoshi’s Quantize - Dialogue in Chiangmai (2018) is based on the artist’s time spent in jungle in Chiang Mai, northern Thailand. Hisakado evokes the profound, penetrating darkness of the tropical night, and the strange “vibe” he felt there, via the sounds of insects recorded on site, and a three-dimensional structure representing the flames of a bonfire.
Po Po uses painting to present the four elements of earth, water, fire, and wind that express the Buddhist doctrine of Abhidharma, and the “space” that brings those elements into existence. He produces minimalist abstract works that combine geometric forms to depict complex Buddhist ideas corresponding symbolically to elements in the natural world.
In Umetsu Yoichi’s Lakeside Spirit (2022), the artist says he “painted while imagining the majestic wilderness embracing the lake” before him, “its breathing, the depth of the water, what it looked like under the water,” resulting in a landscape rendered as abstract scene.
These exemplars of vibrant, varied expression that engage with nature and draw out its essential elements invite diverse interpretation precisely because of their abstract quality. Today, with our planet’s environment in crisis, the works of these three artists offer us the opportunity to take a fresh look at the natural world, and clues for how to do so.