Sunday, July 7, 2013

Tribhanga, balance and harmony in contemporary art

On a recent visit to the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, I was captivated by a few standout examples of Indian, Tibetan and Nepalese sculpture (circa 12th Century) featuring tribhanga, the bent at three-places pose. Until just recently, I was unfamiliar with the concept of tribhanga, but I recognized the aesthetic harmony of this asymmetric pose, an elegant S shape emphasizing the flow of the figure in subtle movement, like a dancer in the graceful transition between steps.

The beauty of these sculptures adds another layer to my grasp of the history of art. Whether representational or abstract, there is an underlying principle that a work of art should have balance and harmony. However ancient this aesthetic, it is one component for the inspiration behind a new series I'm planning to paint.

While seemingly unrelated, here are links to my two most recent reviews published in WhiteHot Magazine of Contemporary Art: Transparency: Salvatore Emblema at the UCLA Italian Cultural Institute, and Heather Cantrell: Weirding Way at Carter & Citizen in Culver City. These two exhibits, one, a retrospective of the work of an Italian abstract artist who painted in the 1950s to 2005, the other a contemporary artist whose work centers on a photographic self-portrait, are unified in their artistic expression by a sense of harmony all their own.

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