Saturday, April 23, 2011

Sweetcake Enso at the San Francisco Zen Center, April 29th-May 29th

Allison Watkins, Solace, machine embroidery, needle, light, 10x10", 2011.

From scrappy bits of paper and string to a city bus route, the San Francisco Zen Center’s Sweetcake Enso exhibition is together in its variety. With ten new artists on board, the fourth Sweetcake Enso is on exhibit from April 29th through May 29th. Sweetcake Enso draws attention to the abstract circle as a symbol of presentness in daily life, and opens out the traditional calligraphy of the Enso to include the work, unlimited by media or training, of contemporary artists involved in strong Buddhist practice. Without motivation to define “Zen Art,” the interest here is in a shift from the monastic practice of Japan to a stronger emphasis upon lay practice in American Zen, and what this means for understanding contemporary art as Zen practice.

Colleen Corocoran, Star Cluster, photograph, 16x20", 2010

In the very specific task of working with the circle as an expression of their practice, the singularity of each artist’s expression stands out.  This is of course visible in the traditional painting of Enso as well, and where it finds its value.  The difference is that once content and a broad diversity of media are invited in, experience is no longer bracketed in the spontaneity of one stroke brush painting, and it seems pertinent to say at this point that what emerges strongly in much of this work is that we dwell, and how we dwell.

Todd Gilens, data points for Butterflybus, January through March, 2011, with thanks to Eric Fischer

Artists in the current exhibit are Margaret Bertrand, Sanford Biggers, Ross Bleckner, Colleen Corcoran, Bob Dodge, Ruth Doodson, Noah Fischer, Todd Gilens, Max Gimblett, Gregg Hill, Kichung-Eiko Lee Lizee, Doug Miller, Karen Schiff, Fran Shalom, Bridget Spaeth, Trevor Tubelle , Leslie Wagner, Maria Wallace, Allison Watkins, Susan Weisberg and Michael Wenger. 

Please join us for a reception on Friday April 29th, from 7:00-9:00 pm.  An artist’s walk-through of the exhibit will begin at 8:00.

Trevor Tubelle, Exhume #5 (Hole Earth and Childhood Dreams), ink on paper, 30x22", 2009

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