Tantric Paintings at Feature


The World’s Two Poles United (Day and Night, Light and Darkness, Stillness and Movement, Shiva and Shakti), 2000, 11.75 x 8.75 inches

I saw Tantra: Anonymous Paintings on Paper, at Feature Inc. last month, March 4-27. The Monster of Time (see below) prevented me from posting images until now. This was a modest installation: thirteen small paintings on heavy paper, arranged in a corner of the gallery.

Tantra is the union of the soul with Shakti, the Goddess. A tantric practitioner reaches spiritual union through meditation and focused breathing. Breath contains the energy of the universe, prana, which unites all things. These paintings, and others like them, embody codified images that express specific ideas in tantrism; meditating on them stimulates the eye and mind toward a particular mystical experience. On a more material level, these reductive abstractions by anonymous artists are powerful as art. And that may be spiritual experience enough for some of us.
Let me show you what I saw.

.The entrance to the gallery is to the left in the picture. I've backed up into the gallery to take in the entire installation. All of the paintings, drawing on codified themes, .are contemporary from various cities in Rajasthan, India


The left corner, above, and two paintings on it, below

Energy’s Egg, 2004, 8.75 x 13.25 inches

(All of the paintings are described as "unspecified paint on found paper." The paint looks like gouache or tempera with intense pigmentation; the paper, which seems to be lightweight sheets attached to cardboard, range from book pages to coarse and fibrous sheets, possibly handmade)

.Dance of Energy, 2008, 13.75 x 9 inches

The right corner, above, and three paintings below

.The Birth of Speech, 2008, 11.5 x 9.375 inches

In Search of the Center, 2008, 12.75 x 9.75 inches


The Monster of Time, 2009, 11 x 9.75 inches
. A last view before leaving



Oriane Stender said...


Anonymous said...

LOVE these - these may just be my fave things you're ever posted, srsly

LXV said...

Love that Monster!, thanks Joanne

Nancy Natale said...


Montgesin said...

Buren is tantric - I didn't know but that's great !

Pamela Farrell said...

and,, even the monster of time

lisa said...


Debra Ramsay said...

I had the opportunity to speak with the gallerist about these. He mentioned that the images are copied. It's a devotional act to copy the painting exactly, to paint one for yourself as part of your practice. (Much like the custom of copying religious icons in Catholic and Greek Orthodox faiths). Knowing that these images are very old and have been passed down to bring focus and inspiration and yet look so contemporary ...I'll OMMM to that!