Rebecca Heitz BFA Thesis Fall 2011
A Practice of Embrace
As an artist my main interest is experience and time. I experience moments fully by combining a meditative practice with my art making practice and in turn display these repeating objects to express time. I have been researching the Buddhist meditative practice of prayer wheel spinning as well as the Sufi Muslim tradition of the whirling Dervishes to inform my own practice, specifically the idea of constant motion facilitating concentration and a cleared mind. The Japanese Buddhist influenced aesthetic of Wabi-sabi has influenced my ideas on the visual importance of imperfection. The Tibetan Buddhist practice of sand mandala making and destruction has helped me accept impermanence. Fine artists I’ve investigated include: On Kawara, Claude Monet, Eva Hesse, August Rodin, among others.
For my thesis I created a daily two hour practice of throwing small, simple vessels on the wheel. Throwing every weekday has helped me calm and clear my mind. I know I’ve centered a ball of clay on the wheel when my hands, pressed gently against the sides of the rapidly whirring clay, become perfectly still. Becoming centered has become the goal of my daily practice, both in terms of the clay and my mental state. I’ve learned the former is nearly impossible without the latter. When my vessels are displayed I see them as an abstract representation of my daily experience and the time that has passed this semester. They are the physical manifestation of the clay that has spun between the contours of my hands.