Best Buddhism-Visual Arts Mashup

John Duckworth’s Awake

Staff Pick

Artist John Duckworth, who stages the occasional performance art piece in addition to being a well-known painter, created a multi-room, immersive art experience featuring paintings, sound, video, and public meditation — by the artist, that is. During the opening reception, guests waited in line to be let into the exhibit, which opened with a 12-minute video that was projected onto and around Duckworth as he meditated. The idea was to bring the viewers into the present — awakening them — so that they would be able to be more receptive to the work that followed. After the video, guests kept their wireless headsets on and followed a path through small galleries, created especially for Awake, filled with paintings of the Buddha, abstract technicolor landscapes, vinyl-mounted photographs, and various works on paper while listening to music written as a soundtrack to the experience. There were 90 pieces total, making it one of the City Gallery’s largest exhibits ever. Taken together, those 90 works of art gave us a glimpse into Duckworth’s personal mindfulness practice, which is a major part of his life and work.
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