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India Reflections

A pop-up exhibit with Patty Simon

November 6 - 8, 2015

 

Patty and I serendipitously found each other in Haridwar, India last year and fell in love with the magic and beauty of the country.  This show is about the art, color and culture that makes India one of the most fascinating places in the world. 

Artist Statement

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Before I left for my first trip to India I went into a full-fledged panic!  I travel quite a bit and I have been to places that some might consider daring and have never had a second of doubt.  And yet the thought of India had me in knots. Most likely it was due to the other women I was traveling with who were consumed with how we should cover ourselves appropriately, how to protect our stomachs from the dreaded Delhi belly and how we might bring scarves to wrap over our mouths and noses so as not to inhale whatever noxious fumes awaited.  The exchange of emails and texts and related products and articles was furious as the trip approached.  When I sought the counsel of my Indian friends, who I hoped would put my mind at rest, they asked, “Why do you want to go to Varanasi?” and rolled their eyes and said cover your feet and don’t drink any water! 

 

Needless to say the nightmares grew.  Then, just days before the trip I had an epiphany of sorts.  Like a big bubble popping, my anxiety gave way to the thought that what I was about to SEE would be enough to more than quiet my other senses and that is exactly what happened.

 

I found India visually astounding.  There are unyielding crowds and poverty and trash and filth and dogs and cows and vendors and motor scooters and tuk tuks and buses and trucks and bicycles in every step you take.  The noise and the texture of all of that is stunning. 

More so, I found that there is a strange calm to be found in chaos. 

 

I went to India, in part, on a spiritual quest, to explore the place where yoga and meditation have their roots.   The Bhagavad Gita is next to every bed as the bible is often here and the notions of karma, as in “that’s your karma”, as in things are as they are, is palpable.  All of that washed over me like a fine mist but what filled me up was the color; saffron, crimson, fuchsia and vibrant blues of women’s saris, the marigolds and roses used for wedding celebrations and in everyday rituals, henna, the orange shades the Sadhus wear and the brilliant vermillion powder that marks the foreheads of the devoted and is sold in small mountains in the bazaars.  The color thrilled me and filled me up and silenced my fears.  

 

I returned from my trip with handfuls of mala beads, boxes of incense, a few plastic hanuman and hundreds of photos.   The paintings for this show are interpretations of some of those photos.

 

My deepest gratitude goes to Kim and Ted Goodnow for offering to host this show, for being eternally gracious and for their friendship, to Patty Simon for her infectious creative spirit and partnership, to Dave Kaphammer for his tireless help, to the lovely ladies with whom I traveled to and through India, Jill Karp, Holly Glick, Dr. Randy Kamen, Katie Timlin and Sherry Sidoti, and

last but never least my very patient and supportive husband, Peter Herman.