In this issue of Psychology Tomorrow Magazine we give special attention to the concept of meditation both as a psychological/spiritual practice and as a defining experience when we interact with art. The art presented here challenges us to question the very nature of being, in much the same way that meditation enlivens our consciousness.
Consider the synthetic landscapes of Shane McAdams, which appear almost supernatural as the result of a duel between the man-made and the natural. Or by contrast, the abstract paintings and sculpture of Marci Macguffie, which embody natural symmetry, harmony and pure energy. From entirely different perspectives, both artists ask us to think about the material essence of the universe and our placement in it.
Similarly, Adriane Colburn. who won the prize for best work at this year’s Dumbo Arts Festival in New York City, poses the question in yet another way. Colburn tames the chaotic wildness of nature in installations that organize and flatten natural elements. For example, by reducing a forest to two dimensions, nature suddenly becomes more accessible, less frightening and easier to feel “at one with.” What in fact is man’s relationship to nature?
Ofri Cnaani’s work, which employs performance and video, has the opposite effect. Based on where we stand in one of Cnaani’s installations we experience a different fragment of a more complete narrative. Our vantage point not only determines what we see but how we experience the world. Cnaani forces us to confront feelings of separateness, fragmentation and isolation by emphasizing our unique differences rather than our commonalities.
Mira Gaberova, also working with installation and video art, transforms everyday moments into events. In her work, no moment in life is taken for granted. Every second is inspired and deserves to be cherished and shared. Gaberova asks other artists to reinterpret her work, keeping past moments alive by giving them a new perspective and reminding us that no moment can be owned by any single person.
Katarzyna Krakowicak, the winner of this year’s Venice Biennale, is concerned with how space and sound influence the way we experience the world. When navigating her work, we are forced beyond our reliance on visual cues. Krakowicak’s work encourages greater awareness of our potential as humans beings by pushing us past our usual sensual limits, awakening us to an appreciation of the world’s greater complexities.
Often, we use fashion to show the world who we think we are or who we want to be. Markéta Kratochvílová’s sculptural jewelry often appears as alien or futuristic objects. They challenge the meaning of jewelry as a status indicator and ask us why we wear it. What is so paradoxical about Kratochvílová’s work, is that rather than wearing her jewelry, the jewelry wears us.
Finally, photographer Bill Hayward shows us his view of what it means to be human. In his “collaborative self-portrait” with former ballerina Wilhelmina Frankfurt, Hayward reminds us that even when great beauty exists, pain can be its ageless companion.