Another Weird Obsession: Studies of The Void…

As artists and humans, we want to investigate and explore everything. So how do we make a picture of “nothing”? I’ve been fascinated with depictions of the void for years, especially these more ancient renditions, below…

The Feminine, Spacious as the Sky, by Miriam and Jose Arguelles

Is this mysterious void the beginning or the end? The source or the goal? Is this void in us all the time, despite all the “somethings” that keep us so busy?

Ibid. Supreme Goddess as Void, India, 19th century

Another word for void is emptiness. The Western go-get-em, Manifest Destiny mentality contradicts an appreciation of emptiness.

Emptiness may sound a dark, cavernous lack of the soul… but in Buddhism, emptiness refers not to nihilism, but to be empty of separation. It’s union and wholeness, empty of ego.

“Cosmic sun.” Tanjore, 18th century. Wood, painted 12 in. Ajit Mookerjee, New Delhi (Tantra: The Indian Cult of Ecstasy, by Philip Rawson)

It is full of everything, full of life. The word “emptiness” should not scare us. It is a wonderful word. To be empty does not mean to be nonexistent. -Thich Nhat Hahn

The Ritual Art of India, by Ajit Mookerjee. “Pure consciousness, the metacosmic void.” (Rajasthan, c. 18th century. Gouache on paper)

Were you already there before you were born? Let me help you. To be born means from nothing you become something. My question is, before you were born, were you already there? -Thich Nhat Hahn

Ibid. Yoni with vegetation issuing from it, painted on a house-wall. (Rajasthan. Contemporary expression of traditional form)

It’s a slippery understanding, that we can only get a glimmer of. It’s worth chasing because separation of “self” versus “other” causes so much suffering. In those glimmers of the void and emptiness, we can find peace…

Untitled, by Jørund Aase Falkenberg (WP no. 3), Acrylic on wall, ca. 5×5 m, Reconfigure, The Drawing Room, London 2008

Of course I wanted to make my own depiction of the void, surrounded by chaos and form, even partially covered by it, but there, nonetheless…

The Void / 20×30″ / Labyrinth Collection / Click to purchase

If you meditate, or take quiet walks in the woods, this concept may not be so foreign. You may already be familiar with the peaceful void.

♥ ~Meghan Oona


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