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HomeDanceBuddhism and Mars encourage Alan Caomin Xie, delicate works at Sandler Hudson

Buddhism and Mars encourage Alan Caomin Xie, delicate works at Sandler Hudson

The title of Alan Caomin Xie’s Seven Desires of the Lotus Sutra, at Sandler Hudson by way of June 10, is drawn from seven Buddhist parables acquainted to the artist since his childhood. Nonetheless, these delicate works on paper are associated to the parables principally by what Xie calls (in his artist’s assertion) a “far-fetched” non secular kinship and shared sensibility; they’re by no means illustrations.

And but their imagery is as evanescent because the boundary between our on a regular basis world of illusions, which Buddhism calls samsara, and the Actuality that Buddhism calls — which, as Xie has commented, is something however the “vacancy” of the standard translation.

Commenting on the Buddhist ideas underlying his artwork lately, the Atlanta-based Xie modestly says: “My superficial understanding of Buddhist philosophy leads me to favor creativeness, maybe delirium, over symbolism.”

Xie is a professor of artwork at Clayton State College in Morrow, Georgia. (Picture by Xie)

Xie begins with giant sheets of paper, which he covers with a layer of liquefied powdered graphite, After this preparatory stage, the paper is allowed to dry, however is then re-wet, steadily by rainfall somewhat than by synthetic means. (On one event, the moist paper froze in a single day, creating extraordinary textures.)

After the paper dries once more, he applies glue, to which he sticks tiny dots of silver that kind patterns, lots of which appear like constellations. Different line drawings, barely seen, counsel creatures that determine within the Buddhist parables, or different photos reminiscent of butterflies and the outlines of buildings. Additional results of texture are achieved by way of erasure.

The influence is magical — a phrase that’s normally simply rhetorical extra, however on this case is an irresistible analogy. What lastly emerges on the paper is tough to see, totally rising solely at totally different angles and in numerous lights. All of the works are between tough and unattainable to seize totally in {a photograph}.

Regardless of the linkage in titles (and, ultimately, in delicate photos) to the parables of the Lotus Sutra, Xie started the sequence with the notion of viewing issues from a panorama on Mars, an inspiration that’s surprisingly seen in his 2020 Clear Mountain: The ghostly panorama bears a unprecedented resemblance to the scene revealed by the Mars Rover.

Xie selected Mars as his metaphoric panorama as a result of it represents a spot that nobody has ever visited in particular person but is a vacation spot that many individuals discover alluring regardless of its barren bleakness.

I might explicate intimately different work within the exhibit, as an example Deer King Jataka, which relies on one of many Jataka tales concerning the earlier incarnations of the Buddha. However these artworks incarnate their message another way from the tales to which they refer. One of the simplest ways to expertise them and really feel their influence is to see them up shut, in particular person.

It’s higher for me, then, to cease right here, and suggest an instantaneous gallery go to. After experiencing them, it’s possible you’ll consider of this overview what Xie wrote in his artist’s assertion about his motives for the work, that are adopted by a retelling of the seven parables:

“Upon patiently studying by way of these fantastic seven parables of the Lotus Sutra,” he writes, “it’s possible you’ll uncover that my earlier statements had been mere gibberish.”


Dr. Jerry Cullum’s evaluations and essays have appeared in Artwork Papers journal, Uncooked Imaginative and prescientArtwork in AmericaARTnewsWorldwide Journal of African-American Artwork and plenty of different in style and scholarly journals. In 2020 he was awarded the Rabkin Prize for his excellent contribution to arts journalism. 



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