By Meher McArthur
Buddhistdoor Global | 2016-12-23
Yugen Gold Blue, Miya Ando, 2016. Urethane, pigment, resin, and aluminum,
22x22 inches. Image courtesy of the artist
Miya Ando’s painting Yugen Gold Blue is a Zen koan of sorts. The nocturnal seascape, lit by the hazy glow of a rising moon, is at once a portrait of emptiness (Skt: sunyata) and a representation of the profound nature of the universe; a vision that would not seem contradictory to Buddhist practitioners. Rendered on aluminum using techniques inspired by those of ancient Japanese swordsmiths, the work is solid and rich in surface texture, the delicately detailed waves recalling the subtle hamon pattern* along the edge of a masterfully forged sword blade. The gentle hint of light reflected on the sea’s surface infuses the work with a suggestion that there is much lying beneath the calm surface, as implied by the Japanese word yugen, which means “mysterious” or “suggestive.” Though often highly industrial and technically painstaking, many of Ando’s works—from her metal paintings to her works in graphite on paper and her Bodhi leaf mandalas—possess a meditative quality and sense of yugen, born from Ando’s own cultural roots and her ongoing Buddhist practice.