New paintings 2015-2017
These paintings celebrate the physicality of the body through portrayals of yoga asana postures and surfing. Figures with expressive eyes and angular limbs depict poses that convey a tough femininity and progressive consciousness. Anahata is the Sanskrit name for the heart chakra energy center of the body.
Anahata Series Self Portrait: Tadasana Mountain pose with Chest Stretch & Black Heart, 2015-2017
Oil on Canvas: 48” x 60”
Anahata Series Heather Markowitz: Urdhva Dhanurasana Wheel Pose on Forearms
Oil on Canvas: 60”x48”
Swadhisthana Series Self Portrait: Utthan Pristhasana Lizard Pose
Oil on Canvas: 60”x48”
Artist Statement for Anahata Series Self Portrait: Tadasana Mountain pose with Chest Stretch & Black Heart
By 2015 I had acquired a serious yoga and meditation practice. I began this painting one evening after attending a Sangha gathering led by African-American Buddhist Angel Kyodo Williams. Through these discussions and practices I began thinking about the break down of identity and the interconnectedness of all things. I thought about the construct of whiteness and my love for my friends and peoples of a darker skin tone. I thought about my own healing process and journeys through Mexico and Peru. I thought about the Anahata Heart Charka and how to heal my energy centers, which ached from loss.
My intention in this work is to show a personal vulnerability balanced by strength. The figure is a self-portrait painting standing in Mountain Pose (Tadasana) with a chest stretch. The energy at the chest is represented by an image of a black heart with arteries that branch out like the limbs of a tree. To me the black heart represents love for the “other”, love for the persons whom check different boxes than I do.
Inspired by the John Stauffer book, The Black Hearts of Men: Radical Abolitionists and the Transformation of Race, this 1846 exchange between the black physician James McCune and his white abolitionist friend Gerrit Smith moved me:
Before equality could be attained, there had to be a profound shift in American consciousness: “The heart of the whites must be changed, thoroughly, entirely, permanently changed,” McCune Smith said. He went on to suggest that whites had to understand what it was like to be black. They had to learn how to view the world as if they were black, shed their “whiteness” as a sign of superiority, and renounce their belief in skin color as a marker of aptitude and social status. They had to acquire, in effect, a black heart.