LIFE AFTER LIFE AFTER LIFE
The suggestion that we change lives like we change clothes was offered in the Bhagavad Gita, the ancient Sanskrit verses that are often regarded as the most influential text shaping spiritual thought and life. While “changing lives” referred to the Hindu belief in reincarnation, I propose that we change our lives by re-focusing: by calming our minds and enjoying moments of introspection. These moments are enhanced by a relationship with the natural world and by realizing our innate connection to the vast universe. This body of work, LIFE AFTER LIFE AFTER LIFE, is an invitation to participate in this process.
The sculptures suggest the possibility of specific otherworldly actions. Fashioned by laborious hand processes (sewing, carving, and hand-joining thousands of brass rings to make chain mail) and from natural materials (wood, feathers) they include both locations for contemplation and garments to wear. Most are inspired by specific Vedic parables and scriptural passages. “Tree and Birds” for instance, refers to a Vedic text that describes a tree around which many birds flutter, trying to reach the top. As they move upward, the birds pause frequently to taste the sweet and bitter fruits. The most beautiful bird sits serenely at the top. In my interpretation, this bird becomes a hat, the crown of an object that is part costume and part sculpture. This sculpture, and the objects that surround it, are infused by an awareness of the challenge that such spiritual aspirations impose in this turbulent, hate-filled, material culture, and by the humor and whimsy that are required, in part, to navigate it. The green, feather-lined coat reveals the essence of the Vedantic message: “Close your eyes and find peace: Open them and ask what good you can do in this world”.
Public interaction will be encouraged during my performance on Saturday, November 18.