|My Hummingbird Sky installation at Studio Salon – With Eastern Eyes Nov 2011|
"So you're not going to make art any more? You're just going to do yoga?"
I said something out loud about myself the other night that surprised me. It wasn’t that I was unaware of its truth, but the fact that I articulated it is as precisely and as forcefully as I did was somewhat arresting. I was perched on a stool at an art opening just in front of an installation of mine that ran along the side of a wall. I had been included in an exhibition called Studio Salon – With Eastern Eyes in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Four of us had work in the exhibition and I was speaking with another one of the artists who, like me, had spent time in India and who combined her life as an artist with her life as a yogi. This was clearly reflected in our work and we immediately found that we had volumes to talk about.
We were discussing the art world and I was remarking upon the ways in which my relationship to it had changed since I had become a yoga teacher. I said, At this point, my artwork serves my yoga. I paused and looked at those words hovering in the space between us, startled that I had said them out loud. And then the funniest thing happened – some taut internal sensation gave way, and I felt utterly happy.
|My Pink Victorine installation at Studio Salon – With Eastern Eyes Nov 2011|
Art is something like a religion involving sacrifice and single-mindedness. This works for many artists, and it functioned well for me for many years. But at a certain point in time, in the midst of my deepening involvement in yoga, this way of being and thinking ceased to sit comfortably for me, and somewhere in there a significant shift happened.
|MoMA Sculpture Garden Garudasana|
And frankly, there are good reasons why I’ve nurtured this separation (or dodged the connection), namely because this assumption of mine has proven art world conversation after art world conversation to be accurate, and also because there’s a lot of terrible yoga-driven art out there. I have huge issues with the rainbow-y aesthetic and low-end psychedelia of much of the art I see in the yoga world. It makes me cringe.
|In front of Les Demoiselles d'Avignon (the best painting ever)|
For the most part, the art world seems to find it interesting and vaguely provocative that I can organize my body parts into interesting shapes and patterns, and certain people ask my advice about beginning a yoga practice, but a number of my friends continue to be perplexed about the extent of my involvement in it. I was asked just a couple of years ago by a good friend, So you’re not going to make art any more? You’re just going to do yoga? I was taken aback and scrambled uncomfortably to explain that no, this was not the case AT ALL. But now if someone said that to me, I would just shrug it off, because beneath the question is a belief system that is simply different from mine. How do you debate in two different languages? Additionally, I’m so deeply in love with my yoga practice that I simply don’t care what people think about it anymore.
|Puja with Dakshina Moorthi - with Douglas Brooks, July 2011|
|Inner Landscape #6 - one of my drawings|
|Hummingbird Sky Bakasana at Studio Salon – With Eastern Eyes Nov 2011|