Myrna York

Artist Statement
INK    One Stroke One Breath

The show is about simple single elegant stroke paintings done with black ink and water.  The simplicity may appear prosaic and perfunctory but in reality, it takes many years of practice and experience resulting in effortlessness and grace.  To achieve sprezzatura, the artist begins with mind training, discipline, and control.  Too much one way the paintings appear contrived and too much the other way, the paintings will look as if fear obstructed its completion.  Like a samurai warrior, a zen monk, or a ceramic artist in Japan, the training begins with mind preparation by observing the master for years.  So too with the brush, the pre-curser to good sumiE is meditation.  If your mind is correct, the brush will be correct.  

The path to meditation is similar to the path of the ink.  It is full of contradictions, paradoxical phenomena, and dualities.  The true path is in equanimity or the middle way.  Finding the path is life’s challenge and it is not a one time destination but a constant awareness and vigilance every minute of the day.  Painting with ink is the same way wherein the brush reveals the mind’s state of awareness where too much clutter is revealed in the brush strokes and too much order and control show a lack of “chi”.  The chi lies in the tension between the two.  

The exhibition uses the Santa Cruz river as a metaphor for life’s true path.  It is in constant change everyday through the seasons.  

Spring:  Insight - burst of color, freshness, hope, migration, and new life
                           The Birder, Palo Verde with Bees, The River triptych, Vermillion                 
                                 Flycatcher and Mistletoe, Ocotillo, Hummingbird and Sage, Wildflowers
Summer:  Silence - snow birds gone, dormancy, clouds, lightning (flavors of silence)
                           Clouds, The Third Silence, Monsoon Rains, Sacred Datura, The River       
                                Rising, Radiating Kindness
Fall:  Impermanence - change, transitions, relationships among nature, acceptance
                           The Dry River, Pomegranate with Bird, Praying Mantis, and Dragon
                                Fly, Grasshopper with Mums, Kallstroemia Grandiflora with Beetle,
                                Mexican General, Bugs and Grasses
Winter:  Equanimity - cool, steady, spaciousness, openness, spontaneous rhythm
                           Tumacacori Mountains, Rocks, Elephant Head,
                                 Calligraphy/ Equanimity, Square Word Calligraphy, Thoughts,
                                 The River


The work references Buddhism with consummate care not to trivialize the teachings.  They are not meant to be beautiful nor to illustrate an object.  They mean what they appear to mean.  Nothing is copied directly from something else.  Always an interpretation like a reverie. 

artist