The enso is a circled brush stroke, generally drawn by Zen masters, monks and abbots for a symbolic rendering of the concept of enlightenment, sa… Read More
The enso is a circled brush stroke, generally drawn by Zen masters, monks and abbots for a symbolic rendering of the concept of enlightenment, satori, and freedom from the unfocused mind. Not that I'm any of those, let alone an enlightened being. Still, I've been drawing them for decades - as a practice in centering myself in the "ring of bone", a statement of brushed freedom, matched with structural power of the force of the stroke, combined with the discipline of the energized perfection of the circle.
In drawing, it's less about knowing the black, as it's scribed by the brush, and more about what's not there, in the white that is contained by the stroke. Given our recent move to new offices, we thought that the idea of the enso brushstroke would be a good symbolic gesture to openness and the entry into our offices, as well as matching another large enso in our offices in NYC. That one is a large digital print, whereas this one is drawn on sized and iron-flattened 100% cotton. We drew this laid in an abandoned loft space in another building, splattering the ink all over the place...I used an old radiator cleaning brush to build the strokes of the enso. It's comprised of not one stroke, but many, to build out the scale of the rendering.
The wooden brush that is shown in the installation is what's called a kanban, or a sign - from Kyoto. As in medieval western times, old signs frequently were symbolic devices of what was sold within, rather than conventional lettered renderings, since not all could read. The entry is a progression - on the right, energized woven antique bamboo and wisteria Japanese hana kago, flower arranging baskets hang, implying the concept of containment. Our work is about the content, and the containment of ideas. And on the left, a string of 13 ancient amulets and talisman are framed - these symbolize the power of the magical word (all of them involve written incantations). For us, the idea of the power of the word, as a kind Read Less