Tadasky, untitled painting, at Sideshow Gallery, Brooklyn


As the new season's exhibition announcements arrive by e-mail and postcard, I’m seeing mandalas everywhere. I don’t know about you, but when I see a symmetrical radiating image, I slow down and focus. That’s the point of a mandala, of course, whether it’s meant as a device to aid in meditation or as a formally composed artwork offered for viewing.

Mandala is Sanskrit for sacred circle. Theologically speaking, it’s a map of the cosmos distilled to its essence, which just so happens to be a map to the very center of yourself. Artistically speaking, it’s geometric abstraction at its most concentrated (and often its most precise).

This post is not an exhaustive look at this powerful shape, but a peek as some of what’s going on right now.

On The Perceptual Observer blog, one of my new discoveries and essential reading for anyone with an interest in geometric abstraction, the current post announces that Tadasaky is showing at Sideshow, to my mind the best little gallery in Brooklyn. The show, 1965-2008 Tadasky features the brilliant acrylic-on-canvas paintings of Tadasuke Kuwayama.

Tadasky, untitled painting, at Sideshow Gallery, Brooklyn

From ClampArt gallery comes an announcement of Photo Mandalas: Bill Armstrong and Milan Fano Blatny, currently at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Armstrong, who is represented by the gallery, creates collages which he then photographs with the focal point set on infinity. There’s a nice Zen twist here: What you see is an illusion.

Bill Armstrong, Mandala 452, 2003, C-print. Image from the ClampArt website



Gilbert Hsiao, a painter of retinally invigorating canvases, many of them geometrically shaped, is one of a number of artists participating in the American Abstract Artists show at The Painting Center in SoHo this month, and at the big Minus Space show at PS1 that opens next month.

Gilbert Hsaio, Octagon, 2007, acrylic on wood panel, 34" x 34"Photo: Matthew Deleget


At Endicott College in Beverly, Massachusetts, The Modern Mandala features the work of four artists, including a friend, Marjorie Kaye, whose works in colored pencil I have long liked. Marjorie makes fractured mandalas that are at once wildly energetic and reflectively meditative. Talk about the coming together of yin and yang.

Marjorie Kaye, Lightship, colored pencil on paper



Donna Sensor Thomas said...

Thanks for the link to "The Perceptual Observer."

"Lightship" is so tripy!

Unknown said...

a wonderful collection of contemporary mandala makers...marjorie kaye is so awesome!

Anonymous said...

I love this post, and the infinite possibility in something as seemingly limited as a Mandela.

Oly said...

I could just stare at this post for hours.
Thanks for the visual inspiration, Joanne.

Joanne Mattera said...

Thanks Oly, Heather, Sue and Donna for your kind words. Mandalas are indeed compelling. Equally so is the fact that at any given time, they or any one of a number of other themes are on exhibition in sufficient number as to be noteworthy.