Underlining the concept of minimalism in Japanese and other Oriental art forms, the ink and brush artists study to become masters of technique. This achieved, they produce those wonderfully simple graphic illustrations (sumi-e, ink pictures) ranging in subject matter from calligraphy to paintings of subjects from nature. However, all this skill would be of no avail without the mental development which allows them to reduce the subject to be painted to its essential components.
Then, when all preparations are completed and brush touches paper, the artist tries with one stroke of the brush, to paint the entire universe.
"Paint the whole universe with one stroke of the brush", on hearing of this concept, a friend made the comment that these artists must be very naive. ???...
We leave further thought to you. May it help your understanding of the noble Japanese art forms.
If you study Japanese art, you see a man who is undoubtedly wise, philosophic and intelligent, who spends his time how?
In studying the distance between the earth and the moon? No.
In studying the policy of Bismarck? No.
He studies a single blade of grass. But this blade of grass leads him to draw every plant and then the seasons, the wide aspects of the countryside, then animals, then the human figure. So he passes his life, and life is too short to do the whole.
Vincent Van Gogh to his brother Theo - Arles, 1888
Our own little excursion into sumi-e is based on the integration of the enso (a circle) into the pictures, perhaps we could humbly call them sumi-enso.
Working within these constraints, merging non circular views with a circle, offers its own challenges. The enso is all-encompassing, complete.
Consequently, for our sumi-enso to be relevant, they should then reflect this completeness in their content, arrangement, and meaning.
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Last updated 2010-12-23 09:12