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Beyond, Beyond, Beyond Where The Wisdom Is . . .
 
 
in Stone Voices (2012)
 
 
Summer 2012, Issue No. 4
 
 


 

"Beyond, beyond, beyond where the wisdom is" . . . from the Buddhist heart sutra called "The Heart of Transcendent Knowledge," most aptly describes my approach to artmaking. These scroll-like collages are "thought coverings," images on the page that are held for a moment as they proceed to move across the mind as I record an impression, capture a moment time, so that the viewer can experience an immediacy from it.

     
 

Integral to my work is the idea that energy is held in the subject of my art. The energized subject reflects the luminescence and illumination of spirit. Each work is rubbed, traced, painted, cut out, glued, and collaged. The rubbings and tracings bring forth ancient forms of art not often used in artmaking today, yet I feel they are able to portray the "essence" of an object in a way that nothing else can.

My process begins when I place a carved mahogany luan woodcut plate under a sheet of semi-opaque mylar. Mylar is a type of sheer plastic often used by architects and artists. It has a tough skin-like quality and feels to me close to a "skin" shield or "thought covering" behind which I develop a luminescent spirit. When viewed, it becomes like a veil in front of an unknown light source.

Some of the objects I frequently rub, trace, and cut out are shapes of leaves and trees, hands, feet or other parts o my body. I rub the first layer and then adorn it and make more rubbings and some tracings with a second and third layer on parts or sections of the work. The cutouts and tracings are glued.

I frequently use grape leaves, fig leaves, hickory leaves, and ferns. They all serve as metaphors for a part of my "self" in the context of my place in the world and the relationship of that place as regards other living things. Often I entwine my hands with the leaves and add additional markings from other woodcutrs to translate a tactile sense onto a flat surface - to experience the "nature" of the tree and its leaves and my own body's interaction with it. These components of my pieces serve as markers of my jouney through life.

 
     
 

Leonie Bradbury, Curator of the Montserrat College of Art Gallery in Beverly, Massachusetts, describes these collages as "mixed media collage drawings seamlessly combinging a contemporary printmaker's aesthetic with organic mark making."

 
     
 
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All images ©Nancy Azara 2011