About "Meditations on Tibet"

Meditations on Tibet is the title of a series of small bronze sculptures that I began during a residency at the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center in 1994. They are each unique, the originals in wax and mixed media having been destroyed in the casting process. The series title correlates the process and mind set in which they were made with the transcendentalist concepts in Tibetan belief.

While at the residency, I had been working on a series of drawings using intuitive and gestural linear forms combined with silhouettes of cultural artifacts. In these drawings I was using deconstructive and “chancy” techniques that physically put the drawing at risk and invited unexpected contexts for the these cultural references. The results were not only visually engaging but also offered a valuable release from preconceived expectations, opening up the work and offering new ways of seeing and understanding the world. I decided to take this approach and imagery into a spatial realm by making small mixed media and wax sculptures to eventually be cast in bronze.

To mirror the risk taking process in the drawings, I used materials that would be combustible so as to avoid making molds (a more traditional step in the bronze casting process) and embrace any possible surprises that might be revealable by casting them directly. Eventually, I was able to cast them in bronze in 1996 and 1997 when I first moved to New York.

This element of risk taking and potential deconstruction of assigned meaning reminded me of aspects of Tibetan Buddhism. They maintain that our attachment to earthly materiality and desires handicaps our ability to find relief from suffering. To them them, the highest endeavor is to break down the ego’s attachments through a systematic embrace of compassion and empathy combined with practiced acceptance of realities illusions. These ideals articulated the spirit of visual and material questioning in the creation of these sculptures and so I titled them accordingly.