Friday, June 11, 2010

Collage 88

Here I introduce an ensō (円相), a Japanese word meaning "circle" and a concept strongly associated with Zen. Ensō is one of the most common subjects of Japanese calligraphy even though it is a symbol and not a character. It symbolizes enlightenment, strength, elegance, the Universe, and the void. I went to a show at the Guggenheim in New York in early 2009 which addressed the influence of Asia on Western artists in the first half of the 20th century. This symbol was used by many of them as Zen had a huge influence on so many artists of that generation. It is often considered a form of minimalist expressionist art.

In Zen Buddhist painting, ensō symbolizes a moment when the mind is free to simply let the body/spirit create. There is no possibility of modification: it shows the expressive movement of the spirit at that time. Zen Buddhists believe that the artist is fully exposed in how she or he draws an ensō. Only a person who is mentally and spiritually complete can draw a true ensō. -- Lola

Lola Baltzell
from page 183-184 of original text
collage, acrylic paint
made 4/30/10

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