Internet

Artist casts a wide net to explore metaphysics at the Modern


The first thing visitors encounter in the latest “Focus” exhibition at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth is an elongated painting of a reclining Buddha.

Set within an architectural niche of pale aqua blue, the carved space encircles a workmanlike painting of a Buddhist statue. Also represented is a waist-high brick wall and a bench for visitors to contemplate the Buddha’s life, death and entering into Parinirvana.

Artist Leidy Churchman uses this artwork as a key to decipher his exhibition. Essentially, Churchman paints a wide variety of disparate subjects as a means to portray his interest in metaphysics.

Oddly, the sister painting that also defines this exhibition is iPhone 11 (2019-20). The phone is set upon its side and mimicking the Buddha reposed, with its anthropomorphic three-circled camera lenses squarely facing us.

Churchman seems to draw a relationship between how our phones capture what we point them toward (the mundane and the extraordinary) and how the teachings of the Buddha implore us to see the world and ourselves more deeply.

Leidy Churchman's "Reclining Buddha" is the first painting that visitors encounter upon entering the "Focus" exhibition.
Leidy Churchman’s “Reclining Buddha” is the first painting that visitors encounter upon entering the “Focus” exhibition.(Leidy Churchman / Matthew Marks Gallery)

In the standout Buddhadharma Fever (2019), the artist depicts a golden-hued bedroom with a giant scorpion scrambling along the floor carrying two figures in its claws.

The intense orangish cast that permeates the interior chamber suggests a dreamlike unreality and brings to mind a Buddhist story of an old man trying to save a drowning scorpion. In this fable, the elder is stung repeatedly yet tells an astonished passerby, who thinks him mad, that it is in the scorpion’s nature to sting and it is in his nature to save a creature in need.

READ  Ninjas in Pyjamas Signs Three-Year Partnership With Samsung – The Esports Observer

Churchman’s slightly surrealistic vision puts a twist on this story and instead portrays a scorpion perhaps saving two human figures. The painting takes on more resonance when we discover that the space portrayed is actually a loose rendering of Churchman’s room in his father’s home in Maine.

The painting acts like a visual puzzle that helps us ponder how we’re stung or saved by our own personal histories.

In the standout "Buddhadharma Fever" (2019), artist Leidy Churchman depicts a golden-hued bedroom with a giant scorpion scrambling along the floor carrying two figures in its claws.
In the standout “Buddhadharma Fever” (2019), artist Leidy Churchman depicts a golden-hued bedroom with a giant scorpion scrambling along the floor carrying two figures in its claws.
(Leidy Churchman / Matthew Marks Gallery)

In Kitchen Sink (2017), Churchman offers another riddle as painting. The small horizontal canvas is emblazoned with the phrase “The Laundry Room.” Here, Churchman cleverly expresses a simple contradiction between title and painted text that highlights how things are never fully as they appear or how we name them.

The artist seems to say: Look closely and see beyond easy understandings — as we might imagine the Buddha intoning.

Details

Leidy Churchman’s “Focus” runs through March 21 at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, 3200 Darnell St. Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with expanded hours on Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. 817-738-9215. themodern.org.



READ SOURCE

Leave a Reply

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.