Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Koan




Sometimes, I throw self portraiture into the mix.  What is it like to put your work 
on display?  Artists open up and lay down plenty of emotions that many people
bottle up.  I think our audience likes to distance themselves and perhaps prefers 
to view this on a canvas as a way of expressing themselves when they display
 our works.  My photo here is something I shot when contemplating a Zen koan. I still 
haven't thought of a way to bring this image to a final concept.  Any suggestions? 
"Master Xiangyan said, suppose someone is up in a tree, holding on to the branches
by his teeth, his hands without a grip on a limb, his feet without a toehold on the 
trunk.  Someone under the tree asks about the meaning of Zen.  If he does not 
answer, he is avoiding the question; but but if he answers, he loses his life.  At 
just such a time , how would you reply?"

11 comments:

Gwen Buchanan said...

Bill, We have come across that very problem so many times... when you make your living selling your work to customers who work in many different fields...

sometimes speaking out or expressing ourselves condemns others in certain fields .... do you keep your mouth shut and eat
...
... or express yourself and take the consequences...

you are so right... that is a very tough call... a dilemma every time...
very good point, gwen

Bill Evertson said...

Thanks Gwen - somehow I thought you would have a follow up comment on this crazy pix and commentary and you are spot on. Lets eat when we need and starve when we are fat.

Gwen Buchanan said...

..."Lets eat when we need and starve when we are fat"....
that's perfect... so poetic! ... I am writing that down and pinning it up! Thanks, g

JafaBrit's Art said...

What I would be thinking is why a person would ask me such a question at a time like that. sometimes there is a time not to ask, and a time not to answer but being in the moment.

Haven't got a clue what I just said, yikes!

Teri Prestash said...

With mindful acceptance of the present moment, I would realize that any spontaneous action on my part would be disastrous. As would letting go of self-conscious. I would do my best to refrain from judgmental thinking regarding the idiot below me asking such a question at such a time.
zenfully yours,
tp

Bill Evertson said...

Thanks Jafabrit and teri - this idiot needs some sense of responsibility. Knowing when to not ask something is just as important as asking. But don't you just want to aim yourself at this idiot and use him to cushion your fall? I think this thing is relevant to our art practice because the original intent is to remind us how we cling to our opinions. Can't we just fall and land into a crochet spread? Or whatever else is the new vision?

Sandy said...

Well my first thought is there is nothing outside myself. I am pure awareness in the moment when a thought apparently intrudes threatening to beckon me back into limited constructs. At this point, I realize I am the limb, the question being asked and the answer. So in that moment, there is no need to answer a question I have asked of myself...I just continue to dream myself holding on to the limb and when I've mined the wisdom of person, place, thing, time and event, and found only myself, I drop into zero energy and veg awhile...

ahhh, if only that simple.

cool pic Bill.
p.s. I'm weird.

Sandy said...

and oops I mean zero point, not zero energy. Zero energy is what I'm feeling right now after working in the yard all day.

I had a zen moment once contemplating the genuflection, and found myself arriving at zero point, bringing both polarities together and going vertical...wheeeee!!! And then I fell flat on my constructs...


sandy

Rosy said...

Thought provoking is the answer to a question that can not be answered.

My first impression of this photo is seeing a disturbing soul, a soul that is caught between here and there and yet nowhere at all.

Bill Evertson said...

Sandy - your comments had me lol - you are sooo clever and I love your attitude - thanks for the great post! I'm surprised that this post got any traction, but I guess all of us have different ways of handling the damned if you do and damed if you don't instances in our lives - and I thank everyone for giving me alternatives.

Bill Evertson said...

Rosy - You are right about being tossed around and left nowhere at all. I never went anywhere with this image - perhap I couldn't because it commented on my limitations, and that part of self portrait seemed off limits at the time.