In the endless patterns of mandalas, one can find tranquility through its sacred geometry. You can find this peace in the spiraling colors of the mandalas artist Alison Moyna Greene creates. However, things are not always what they seem in her work. What is mesmerizing and calm at first glance is actually rough and defensive up close. The artist constructs her mandalas with individual cactus spines that jut out of the surface at the viewer. The process of using such a harmful medium by hand does not only take an intense focus, but also can be physically harmful. However, this meditative process of picking this material, painting them individually, and placing them onto their surface is a practice of care and love. Greene takes something painful and turns it into beauty.
The incredibly metaphor for transformation and healing is realized through this intricate series. The artist explains that her work acknowledges the coexistence of light and darkness and explores the balance of both necessary elements. The mandala is a traditional symbol of harmony. In this harmony, we find brilliant colors and winding patterns. However, we also find sharp, unsafe objects that make up this symbol. This contrast makes Greene’s work even more beautiful as she finds comfort in the amazing transformation of suffering into serenity.
This series of artwork uses thorns and cactus spines as a metaphor of changing pain and suffering. The process of hand plucking, hand painting and hand placing speaks about the transformation of pain into beauty and fear into love.
Kathy Klein is a devout lover of plants, and she translates this admiration into a series of natural mandalas. They are called danmalas, which means “the giver of flowers” in vedic sanskrit. The colorful arrangements are comprised of different blooms, leaves, and even some vegetables such as peppers. She layers a variety of textures and shapes into circular patterns that converge in the center.
Klein describes how she crafts these pieces, and it’s about around being in the right state of mind. First, she situates herself in a meditative devotional space. Next, she gathers flowers and other natural objects while her mind continues to be still. She finds inspiration from the golden sound that resides in silence. “These offerings are reflections of the inexpressible, a gesture which points towards life’s abundance, an unspoken verse of Love,” Klein writes. “The danmalas remind us all to listen to the unheard voice of nature, creation, and the eternal mystery.”
If you too are a plant lover (or mandala lover), Klein has many, many more danmalas on her website. (Via Faith is Torment)
Artist Leonardo Ulian offers another interpretation of the mandala with his assemblages of electronic components, copper wire, and more. The intricate, finely detailed works radiate the innards of what makes technology tick. Ulian crafts smaller geometric patterns within a larger, more general shape that become more impressive once you see close up shots of his handiwork.
The mandala is typically a spiritual symbol that is often destroyed after its created (like the ones created from sand). This is a practice that establishes a sacred space, which is Ulian’s technological collage can be a metaphor for. Circuit boards, computer chips, and wire connectors have not only transformed the way we live, but the way in which we see the world. The artist could be saying that our dependency on it is akin to the worshiping of a larger being. (Via The Inspiration Provider)
Husband and wife visual artist team Hillerbrand+Magsamen crafted a series of twists on the traditional mandala. More commonly known through the Tibetan sand mandala, the original, ancient process consists of intricate patterns of sand that are later destroyed. Hillberbrand+Magsamen’s interpretation is similarly meticulous, but has a pop culture twist. Using things like books, Legos, shoes, sippy cups, things that are blue and others green, they arrange these objects in a circular, radiating formation. This light-hearted assemblage has a deeper meaning to the artists, who explain:
Loosely translated to mean “circle,” a mandala is far more than a simple shape. It represents wholeness, and can be seen as a model for the organizational structure of life itself–a cosmic diagram that reminds us of our relation to the infinite, the world that extends both beyond and within our bodies and minds. We have created mandala’s within our own home out of the stuff we have found lying around in our own creative exploration.
So often, we get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The act of creating these works is a slow, meditative process. As these objects form a circle, there is consideration to not only placement, but the associations we have to them. It allows us to think about how the things we own are a reflection of who we are. (Via Faith is Torment)
Portia Munson’s latest show at P.P.O.W uses photography, installation, and sculpture to create a vibrant and colorful atmosphere that examines nature, including our own.
Entering the gallery, photographic wallpaper of dandelions reach out from under a series of still life prints or memento mori: images of actual flower blossoms, carefully arranged by the artist as a mandala, inside of which, a woodland creature, formerly found along the roadside, nestles.
Of her imaging process, Munson elaborates, “I use the scanner like a large-format camera. I lay flowers directly onto it, allowing pollen and other flower stuff to fall onto the glass and become part of the image. When the high-resolution scans are enlarged, amazing details and natural structures emerge. Every flower mandala is unique to a moment in time, represents what is in bloom on the day I made it.”
When shown alongside Munson’s other piece: Reflecting Pool, a “congested installation” of heaping blue landfill trash, we are forced to confront our natural instincts– to build and discard with quick irreverence.