Monday, January 27, 2014

About Tadasana, Art & Yoga 2014

Tadasana is the first asana in BKS Iyengar's Light On Yoga and is naturally fitting as the first image used in my 2014 art & yoga intensive. Tadasana is the basic standing pose and although it looks simple, there is complex network of systems at work here—skeletal, muscular, circulatory, respiratory, digestive, endocrine, nervous, pranic energy, and mental/emotional. Only a small portion of this network is controlled by the frontal lobe, our conscious mind. 

For me, Tadasana represents a positive start each day. In Tadasana, I assess where I am by taking an inventory of feeling, both physical and mental. I set some intentions and note areas that need attention, both physical and mental. As I move out of Tadasana into other asanas and deeper into the practice, I let go of the desire to actualize these intentions and practice simple awareness with detachment. Awareness with detachment is an acknowledgement of being—what is—without judgement or agenda. Like physical posture itself, there is a complex network of systems at work here—not all of which I fully realize at this time—and it seems a small portion of this network is controlled by our conscious mind as well.

Balance Application

For many of us, the self critical voice speaks loudest. Simply put, this voice keeps us in check, and holds us accountable, but it can also beat us down and drown out the supportive, self affirming voice that motivates us and makes us feel worthwhile. Both voices are valuable, but balance is key. All people experience these voices in different levels of balance. My self critical voice is so domineering that I have to make a concerted effort to quiet it down. I have to specifically listen for that supportive voice or I won't hear it. 

Whether it's an obnoxiously loud critical voice or a penchant for cookies, as imperfect beings the tendency for imbalance is in our nature. The practice of yoga creates a time and place to level out. By exercising awareness with detachment, the loud quiets and the soft becomes more audible. Yoga is a practice and with anything we might practice, proficiency increases with frequency and intensity. Maintained awareness can arguably be more valuable off the mat than on. With this in mind, be wary of yoga goals or practicing for a specific outcome. Go to the mat. Practice. 

Screen Print Application

For each image I work with this year, I'm producing a screen printed edition of 20. When it came to the printing of Tadasana I was posed with an interesting dilemma. The transparency level of the black ink I mixed was more than I typically work with creating a noticeable ink rink (called a screen kiss) on the print. The amount of extender making the black ink more transparent also made it more viscous leading to some slight bleeding where the black prints over the gold.

As I reviewed the first couple of prints, I liked seeing more of the fluorescent red under the black and the screen kiss suggested a wave of energy radiating to Iyengar in his Tadasana. Happy accident. There is plenty of intentional noise in the print design itself, so a little bleed in the area over the gold could go unnoticed. That didn't bother me either. The print, however, does not adhere to traditional screen printing standards for a print edition. Do I re-mix the ink so I can pull some perfect prints?

At the risk of losing acceptance by screen print enthusiasts, I opted against established standards for what came naturally. In doing so, I applied the yogic practice of awareness with detachment to my art making. The print isn't perfect by edition standards, but that doesn't mean it isn't perfect exactly as it is. Imperfection is the essence of the print.

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