Persephone, 2008, pastel on paper, 16" x 24"
In the oeuvre of Richard Stodart, human fallibility (thinking, darkness, duality) and human perfectabiity (not-thinking, light, nonduality), conjoin as dynamic foci of opening and illumining, differentiation and equality, picture and reality, in and through the mediating presence of emptiness.
Born in Trinidad, West Indies, in 1945, Stodart is a self-taught artist with a Fine Arts degree from Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada, in 1971. Shortly after he began painting, in 1973, he won a Canada Council Grant for a figurative series of paintings on the primary relationship of the self and reality.
Since 2005, he has worked primarily in abstraction. DreamMaking, indebted to Dogen's Soto Zen Shobogenzo teachings, is an ongoing painting project with duality (thinking) and nonduality (not-thinking) as cofocal aspects of entire being/existence-time, in a quest for equilibrium through emptiness (nonthinking).
He has published three books on his work: Free and Easy Wandering: Markings On The Way, DreamMaking: The Intimacy of Picture/Reality, and The Someone In Painting/A Picture, a retrospective of his paintings, drawings, and reflections on nonduality, from 1973 to 2014.
"In this deeply perplexing and chaotic ethos, a new direction rather than a solution is called for that expands the deconstructive focus of thinking (duality, amid delusion, criticism) and the reconstructive focus of not-thinking (nonduality, beyond delusion, understanding). Painting serves this deconstructive/reconstructive function, by weighing the internal relationship of the foci for continuity, dynamism, equilibrium, and fairness. Insisting on their dynamic, in and through emptiness, painting refines the symbol as the symbolized as a matter of intimacy and immediacy."
View gallery images from the book, DreamMaking.
View images from the book, Free and Easy Wandering: Markings on the Way
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