Thursday, December 4, 2014

wabi-sabi, a humble approach.....


Wabi-sabi is a new term to me. The concept in my being as wabi-sabi is as old as I am. It was evident to me sitting on a concrete sidewalk as far back as I can remember, running my fingers over the grains feeling the texture and the warmth of the sun touching the surface, split, cracked, worn, functional and beautiful.

Spiritually speaking; it is older than time. My introduction came by way of an article written by David Netto for the New York Times about The Tribeca Penthouse of The Greenwich Hotel which was titled "The Luxury of Humility."  Ira Drukier and Robert De Niro are among those with the vision to embace such a beautiful enterprise.

The visionary to promote the idea of this Japanese aesthetic of acceptance, transcience and imperfection for the construction and interior design was Axel Vervoordt. As it was explained, wabi meaning sober refinement, sabi meaning patina.

What carries this message more than a simple clam shell and a few strands of sea grass in a small patch of beach, lit by the summer sun? It is interesting to me in the art that I make to observe those who observe. So many responses are available. Most people walk right by this little 10x10 inch oil on canvas painting in my studio. A rare few stop to ponder. Those who I consider sharp ask, "Why would Alan, who can paint anything vast and majestic pick a subject so simple and humble?" Why, indeed? Look at the texture, imagine the warmth of the sand, the coolness of the shell to your touch.

When I first viewed the beautiful photography by Francois Halard of the space in the penthouse I thought to myself, "Boy, I could really get some work done there."  One of the aspects that the directors of this work of art asked is, "Would the uninitiated get it?" A key aspect of the Wabi in the well designed space is psychological well being of the occupant....this is what I meant by getting work done there. It is a space for clarity of being.

I would love to find a project like this to be involved with for my work. I do feel, as it is with most of my large scale paintings that this particular interior could use a counterpoint, something lush with understated color, sensual, harmonic as I walk about in sober refinement with know..playfully!

More to come....

All art and images copyright Alan Phillips 2014