Tuesday, December 4, 2007

An Arrow to the Heart

Today I ask you to check out my
review of "An Arrow to the Heart: a Commentary on The Heart Sutra" by Ken McLeod.

And a Bunch of Kids...

... with a mention of at least one show from the gallery rounds that Ellie and I did on Saturday. I’m getting a bit behind myself here, so I’ll make it brief. Of the several exhibits we saw, the one that lingers most in my mind is the work of Akio Takamori at the Frank Lloyd Gallery at Bergamot Station in Santa Monica. Takamori is known for whimsical clay sculptures evoking memories of his early life in post-war Japan, and his latest body of work brings together a little community of quietly contemplative children, each about two feet high, their clothes skillfully, if loosely painted on the surface of the clay.

The figures in themselves are charming, but I especially loved the installation. Stand in the middle of the gallery space and look around, and you’ll find the children placed on pedestals, their backs to you, faces to the wall—with just enough space left for you to walk around them and inspect them close up if and when you wish to. On the wall in front of them, the children are mirrored by a two-dimensional photographic image of their own face, each printed digitally on a rough drawing paper that gives each more the feel of a watercolor than a photograph. They stand there, gazing silently into their own visage, each strange and somewhat lonesome in his or her own space.

As a viewer, you can’t help but be moved and drawn in by this installation. At first, from behind, you see only the reproduction of the faces; the backs of the figures lend the children a kind of reticence that makes them more appealing than might an initial confrontation. When you step around in front of them, you are so close that you get the sense of invading their privacy, an intimacy at once tender and intrusive.

The work is a hymn to childhood, to the awkwardness and the difficulty, the shyness and the beauty of it. If you were once a child yourself—as I suspect you might have been—you will not go away from Takamori’s work unmoved by its charms.

Update: We are pleased to correct a long-standing oversight by adding Tara Dharma to The Buddha Diaries' blogroll. Please be sure to check in there and have a look around.


Robin said...

Thanks for the wonderful review.

The Heart Sutra is indeed a jewel of wisdom, compassion and loving kindness.

Translated into Chinese in the Tang Dynassty, it is a 260-words sutra which provide endless Buddhist wisdom and teaching on life.

The Mahayana chants and appreciates the teaching of emptiness, equanity and the liberation in this wonderful words.

With wisdom, compassion and loving kindness

They call him James Ure said...

Congrats on the article.

ganesh statue said...

Great post!