25 Dec

Politically Incorrect Observations

A balmy 70 degrees on Christmas eve in these parts, El Niño and all, was a sign of changing tides. Noticed a few changing sights and sounds of the Holidays in the city…bountiful sleighs overflowing with esthetically pleasing contents, while sliding down snowy slopes are replaced by Triton riding a dolphin, all constructed with  thousands of white and black pearls of varying sizes, a white mannequin in a giant turban flying reclined on a floating cloud over a frosty Taj Mahal with a disco ball dome beneath. The multicolored flags of all the nations at Rockefeller Rink replaced by as many gold and silver flags, and a quick look at Diego Riviera’s masterful mural inside…

St. Patrick’s Cathedral, all cleaned up and restored for the Pope’s visit was a joy to behold! While attempting to take a panoramic shot of the magnificent ceiling I overheard someone saying, “This is selfie heaven”! A walk through Saks to indulge my consumer voyeurism, I stumbled upon a Manolo Blahnik that made me covet a Hindu God’s Head dress! Why suffer from teetering on pencil heels, much better to strap it on the head!

St.Patrick's

 

23 Dec

Hide in Plain Sight

If the function of religion in society has conventionally been to offer a basis for thoughts and actions, allowing people to relate, bond and abide by a common principal and goal, it is indeed a matter to contemplate how, the same binding force might be instrumental in generating so much hate and destruction. Historically hate or violence has not been foreign to the realm of religion and its propagation and practice. Unjustified or immoral as some of those actions might have been, it was not difficult to trace the motivation behind those acts. Be it witch burning in Europe in 1480 – 1700s or communal riots of Ayodhya, India, the underlying factors stemmed from the need to enforce power over differences that threatened prevailing ideology. The need to enforce power in general, be it for religious reasons or political, has been to implement a rule that served a set of people. Differences over faith, color, territory and money, however myopic, offered a cause to stand by and fight for.

The news of Mumbai bombing of 26.11 came to me on Spanish news television in a quaint cottage overlooking the grand Alhambra in Granada. Wounded bodies were being carried away on stretchers, grieving and wailing victims in the backdrop of the famous Mumbai Taj Hotel, designed quite ironically with the elements of Islamic architecture to reflect the famous Taj Mahal, built by Muslim ruler Shah Jahan. It was difficult for the Indian military to differentiate the attackers as their skin color and features were so alike the throng of crowds on the streets that it provided the perfect camouflage!

As it turned out over the years that followed, that such massacre occurred many times over worldwide, in the name of jihad, costing damages in social economic and human assets. The mad man is confined to the asylum thus reprieving society of his destructive actions. When it is the collective thought process bonded by religion with a perverted hunger for power in the absence of a cause, how does one contain it

18 Dec

Eye for an Eye, studio 2015

Eye for an Eye, studio 2015

Eye for an Eye, studio 2015

Lately my focus has been on the creative process itself. How the thoughts manifest – discipline of the physical making of the artwork from a place of humility and preparedness to receive. The self is an instrument between the inspiration and manifestation, the rest is a process of surrender to a guiding power. The reluctance to yield to this power is what causes the anxiety and second guessing, yet that too is an essential part of the process – sort of, a tradeoff…

Eye for an Eye, studio 2015

Eye for an Eye, studio 2015

 

12 Dec

Torpedo Art Factory during Holidays 2015

Is there such a thing as a successful artist, or does the measure of success lie in the art itself? Van Gogh’s struggle with his inner daemons and his last days in the asylum, Lucian Freud known for his unconventional behavior and his nude portraits that showed both a keen interest and a kind of clinical impassiveness for the flesh…does the artist need to live out his/her life as some sort of a social outcast in order to truly be able to be in touch with her own inner compass?

Having visited the Torpedo Art Factory recently to attend an opening of a show that had my works a second time around since 2011, I saw many of the artists I had met the first time around, some of them have created new works others revel in the process of art making in a well-equipped facility overlooking the Potomac River. Torpedo bears the history of American involvement in the Second World War – the Mark 14 submarine torpedo used by U.S. Navy personnel in the Pacific theater of the war was produced there. Over 70 years after its decommissioning as a munitions depot, the history of the Torpedo Factory is a fascinating tale of politics, faulty weapon engineering, and local spirit. Alexandria’s Torpedo Station manufactured almost 10,000 torpedoes that were estimated to be responsible for damaging or sinking almost 1,500 ships. The facility was converted into an artist’s work space in the early 70s, today it is perhaps the largest artist’s residency in the world!

Revisiting the state of angst that most artist’s experience, the state that drives them to produce art in the first place, might exist because of the awareness of the ephemeral nature of beauty/truth. The understanding that no matter how close one comes to manifesting his/her idea of beauty/truth, it holds true only for a short span of time…

Here are some of the resident artists I visited and experienced their work:

Lisa Schumaier, Rosemary Covey, Beverly Ryan, Rosemary Feit Covey, Marcos Texeira, Susan Makara, Michele Montalbano, Eric Wallner, Sheep Jones