Out of the Blue and Into the Black:
Most of the Western modernists who were driven to abstraction, whether Malevich or the Minimalists, arrived there by a compulsion to reduce, distill, and purge form of content.
In abstraction from other traditions, the form is the content, and geometric shapes, as well as colors, have highly coded symbolic and spiritual meanings. That’s the case with the pre-Columbian Andean textiles that inspired Joaquín Torres-Garcia, Joseph Albers, Alfred Jensen, and so many other painters in the last century.
And it’s also the case with the incredible Tantra paintings by anonymous artists from India on view at Feature Gallery through this weekend. These works, made between 1985 and 2009, were created as meditation tools to stimulate higher states of consciousness. This image, painted in Udaïpur, Rajasthan, in 2003, is known as a linga, an oval form that represents the deity Shiva.
Though the makers of these paintings conceive them as objects of veneration, not as art, they are aware that people in India and abroad appreciate them for their aesthetic qualities, says Feature director Hudson. Western artists as well have found inspiration in the way that these rigorous forms connect with spiritual practice and a cosmology far beyond the illusion of the picture plane. A concurrent show at the gallery, “Connected,” presents the works of five such artists, who have been influenced by the kind of Tantra paintings in the show. Don’t miss it.
Courtesy Feature Inc.