Sunday Evening Art Gallery — Mandalas

A mandala is a geometric configuration of symbols with a very different application.

It can be understood in two different ways: externally as a visual representation of the universe, or internally as a guide for several practices that take place in many  traditions, including meditation.

The word mandala comes from Sanskrit, an ancient Indian language. Literally mandala means “circle.”

The circle is seen as a magical form, without beginning and end, just as the universe is believed to have no end.

In  religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Shintoism, it is used as a map representing deities, or specially in the case of Shintoism, paradises, kami or actual shrines.

The word mandala conjures up steady breathing and concentration patterns.

The circle is seen as a magical form, without beginning and end, just as the universe is believed to have no end.

. The mandala can also be filled with all kinds of patterns: geometric figures, Buddhist saints, flowers, designs, nature, and more.

Mandalas can be found in stained glass windows, floor paintings, paintings, carved pieces, books, scarves, clothing — any place you can focus on while mediating, praying, thinking, or dreaming.

Next time your heart or mind is racing, find a mandala that calls you,  take time to look at it’s beauty, and calm yourself.

Do You Get It?

Black Circle
Black Circle

One of my favorite bloggers, David, posted a 36-word poem the other day, doing his best to “understand” it. http://davidkanigan.com/2015/08/20/oh-well/. a very lovely, emotional poem. I tried to understand it, too. And while a whiff of sense wafted around my senses, I, too, had a hard time with interpretation.

It made me wonder.

Do people who write and paint and sculpt truly abstract things truly understand their meaning?

And, if so, why are so many of us so duh about it?

Look. I know I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed. Sometimes I have to have TV show plots explained to me. Sometimes I don’t get the end of the joke. Abstract, in the purest sense of the word, is, well, abstract to me.

But most times I “get it” after pondering on things for a bit. Eventually the proverbial light bulb goes on and most of what I read/look at/listen to makes sense. (Except rap music). The truly abstract aspect of an artist’s creativity is something totally different for me, though.

An example of this confusing state of mind is Russian artist Kasmir Malevich (1878-1935).  A Polish-Russian painter and art theoretician, he was a pioneer of geometric abstract art and the originator of the avant-garde Suprematism movement (an art movement in Russia that produced abstract works featuring flat geometric forms).

Maybe it’s because I skipped Geometry in high school. Maybe it’s because my teachers taught me to write in full sentences and not in cryptic phrases. But somewhere along the line I never got into simple geometric forms.  At least, not as a form of art.

Malevich explains his aesthetic theory. “Under Suprematism I understand the supremacy of pure feeling in creative art. To the Suprematist the visual phenomena of the objective world are, in themselves, meaningless; the significant thing is feeling, as such, quite apart from the environment in which it is called forth.” He viewed the Russian Revolution as having paved the way for a new society in which materialism would eventually lead to spiritual freedom.

I’m afraid I don’t quite get that from the painting above, either.

What is this roadblock I have to understanding the other side of the universe?  I opened my Sunday Evening Art Gallery so that I could share what I considered Unique Art. Different Art. Personal Art. Something created that, even though in one way or another you don’t always “get” it, there is some thread of familiarity that runs between the artwork and the viewer.

I never studied Art theory either, so that might explain some of my unappreciativeness. I can make a connection between my friend Dawn Whitehead‘s sculptures and the world, even though most times I’m grasping at straws. I can figure out haikus and rambling poetry as long as there is an ending that makes sense.

Words thrown together without an immediate connection — that I have a much harder time with.

I am determined to delve a little further into this Suprematism movement, along with poetry that has category names but no sense. I want to be a little part of every art movement around me, even if at times the art doesn’t move me. A child of the world, as they say.

Even if I continue to get D- on my comprehension tests.