Saturday, January 20, 2007

contemplative art


"War Bird", brush drawing by Thomas Merton, 1965, reproduced from the book jacket of his collected correspondence with W. H. (Ping ) Ferry.

It is when I explore his art that I get lost, no longer able to form any concepts about who Merton was and what he is saying. I fall into my own place of emptiness and nothingness. Is this Zen? I read Mr. Lipsey's commentary and, yes, I can see what he points out, but in myself I am taken to a new place. I love Merton's writings, his ability to reveal the raw nakedness of our lives before God, his articulation of "contemplativeness". His art has a strange power that is similar, perhaps more simple and pure in its wordlessness.

The following is from Roger Lipsey's book, "The Art of Thomas Merton":
"Art making is a discipline of mind, heart, and hand, potentially sacred, potentially linked with deep levels in oneself. It is a path of entry into profound contact with nature, a means of belonging here and now to what one sees, feels, and records with the bruth. It is a Way." ("Angelic Mistakes, the art of Thomas Merton", by Roger Lipsey, p. 31)

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