Understanding Blue: Art School Dismissed
When I teach painting I encourage students to collaborate with the chosen material, to learn the innate characteristics of the medium and bring forth this expressive value. In so doing, they also discover their own tendencies and innate characteristic, the base material of who they are as individuals and perhaps artists.
For this work I am practicing what I preach: I was introduced to this space in room 11, and worked with it in my mind for 5 months. There were severe physical limitations on what could be done in the space, mainly: no paint. For a painter that is a bit of a hindrance. But not if you alter your definition of paint so I am using chalk, paper, reflective mylar, fabric, found paint and glue chips, broken cork, sound.
I am also a student.
I am trying to learn peace of mind so I sit and count breaths.
I have an art practice and I practice meditation.
In both cases I practice so that I can improve and so that I can continue my practice.
But there is no penultimate moment of mastery, no enlightenment, no attainment.
Perpetual, persistent practice.
"So the thing to do when working on a motorcycle, as in any other task, is to cultivate the peace of mind which does not separate one's self from one's surroundings. When that is done successfully then everything else follows naturally. Peace of mind produces right values, right values produce right thoughts. Right thoughts produce right actions and right actions produce work which will be a material reflection for others to see the serenity at the center of it all. That was what it was about that wall in Korea. It was a material reflection of a spiritual reality."
Robert Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
Art School Dismissed was a group exhibition at the Shaw Street School in Toronto, curated by Heather Nicol in 2010