MEDITATIONS in COLOR features paintings by Richard Carter and Amy Cheng that are distinct in their overall visual presentation, but similar in their use of geometric and repetitive shapes, heightened color and an association to the meditative qualities of the ancient form of the ‘Mandala’. Carter and Cheng herald from different parts of the country, Carter residing in Aspen, Colorado and Santa Monica California and Cheng currently teaching in New Paltz, New York, and yet bring a compatible palette and contemplative sensibility to their work. The viewer is invited to bring their own internal language and cultural perspective to respond to these contemplations.
For a man who has a love of boxes, and for decades a penchant for painting the square and placing his mark-making within highly structured borders, Richard Carter’s new work is a departure, focusing on the idea of a central focus, the circle and a disrupted border. He admits that at times he will break the mold and “very consciously decide to eliminate the box and wander into the borderless realm.” In recent years Carter came across a treatise on the history and form of the ‘Mandala’ and began an artistic exploration of its many compositional forms, especially “intense borders, a centered image to invite meditation and color off the charts.” The resulting series of paintings, “Mandalas Considered,” embodies a new way of mark-making incorporating intense color and invoking geometry, science and meditations of his own formalized visions.
Amy Cheng’s jewel-colored paintings are luxurious and intricate and evoke a sensibility of ornamental florals and geometrics, the use of patterns and repetition harkening back to the age-old traditions of European and Far and Middle Eastern craftsmen. Elementally, large paintings in this exhibit are reminiscent of lace and brocades. Cheng believes all art to be devotional, but sees her work as secular, which does not preclude, “the spiritual, the contemplative, the mystical, or the sacred.” Inherent in her work is an association to the ‘Mandala’, cosmology and the structure of cells. As Amy Cheng says of her work, “I believe when we are telling stories, singing, dancing, drawing, carving, we are directly engaged in spiritual activities that takes us out of time into a different realm.”