A 21,560-kilometer journer of the sojourners: Thangka Artistry at the Sojourner Gallery

SOJOURNERREGONG THANGKA EXHIBITIONMay 17 – June 17, 2023Opening Reception: May 19, 6-8:30PMSojourner Gallery446 W 34th Street 4th Floor, New York, NY 10001www.sojournergallery.com

New York, NY, New York, United States, 16th May 2023 – Unveiling the exquisite tapestry of a Thangka scroll is a quiet, reverential process akin to opening a sacred text. Charles A. Riley II, P.h.D., the Director of Nassau County Museum of Art, eloquently describes, it’s a revelation that demands a thoughtful pace. This May, New York’s Sojourner Gallery is inviting audiences to experience this spiritual journey firsthand, with a unique exhibition of Thangka paintings that have travelled a staggering 21,560 kilometers from Regong, Qinghai, China.

The radiant, prismatic splendor of the displayed Thangka artistry can be likened to the sublime moment when sunlight illuminates a cathedral window, causing the stained glass to erupt in a chorus of chromaticism. Yet, just as the delicate interplay of light and color in a cathedral window requires time and careful study to fully appreciate, so too does the true beauty of a Thangka painting.

As Charles notes, these devotional paintings, created by profoundly religious artists, draw upon centuries-old compositional traditions. The process is painstakingly slow, the rhythm of creation almost ritualistic, with artists often chanting as they touch brush to surface. The resulting works of art are visual feasts of intricate line work, luminous color, and symbolic imagery, designed to engage all five senses and stimulate a contemplative response.

This exhibition, showcasing 21 Thangka paintings, presents a sensory odyssey from the rich aroma of incense to the sheen of silk, from the vivid pigments of coral, peacock stone, turquoise, pearl, agate, indigo, cinnabar, and saffron to the quiet whisper of the brush on paper. It is an invitation to immerse oneself in the meditative process of creating and appreciating Thangka artistry.

The meticulous craft that underpins these Thangka paintings, from the precise geometry to the system of bodily proportions and measurements known as iconometry, is an integral part of their allure. Similar to the sub-structure of Bach’s fugues in the Well-Tempered Clavier, this systematic approach provides a clear framework for the artists, guiding the composition of figures, postures, and hand gestures.

As Charles aptly quotes William James, “There is a continuum of cosmic consciousness against which our individuality builds but accidental fences, and into which our several minds plunge, as into a mother-sea or reservoir.” The Thangka paintings in this exhibition evoke this cosmic consciousness, offering viewers a tangible connection to the transcendental and the eternal, far removed from the fleeting trends of the avant-garde.

In an art world often driven by materialistic pursuits, the Thangka paintings’ deep spiritual clarity provides a refreshing counterpoint. Rooted in Asian traditions of technique and composition, these paintings embody an alternative path, one that aligns with the belief that art should fulfill an inner spiritual need. These Thangka paintings, beginning and ending with the sacred, would have resonated deeply with Wassily Kandinsky, a firm believer in the spiritual vibration of colors and their power to enrich the soul.

The forthcoming exhibition at the Sojourner Gallery is a testament to the enduring power and portability of Thangka artistry, underpinning Andre Malraux’s vision of a “museum without walls.” Just as Thangka scrolls have been carried thousands of miles to safety, this exhibition invites you to embark on an enlightening journey, traversing time and space to experience the spiritual vibrancy of Thangka artistry.

Media Contact

Organization: Sojourner Gallery

Contact Person: Sojourner Gallery

Website: https://www.sojournergallery.com/

Email: newyork@sojournergallery.com

Contact Number: 6468831816

Address: 446 W 34th Street

City: New York, NY

State: New York

Country: United States

Release Id: 1605233531

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