Knock, Knock. Who's There?, 2016
wood, paper, steel, glue
46 x 115 x 15

Site-specific installation at
Nan Rae Gallery at Woodbury University, Burbank, CA for
practice, Practice, practice: Abstract Spirituality in Los Angeles Painting, Sculpture and Performance.

See also building, Building, building blocks, Blocks, blocks, an intergenerational wood workshop conducted by Rebecca Niederlander.

practice, Practice, practice: Abstract Spirituality in Los Angeles Painting, Sculpture and Performance

What is art for? For most of its history, art was closely linked to liturgical functions by granting access to spiritual states of consciousness through formal stimulation, symbolic communication, and pictorial representations of mythological narratives. At the dawn of the era of Modernism, many artists sought ways to disengage their practice from depictions of external reality, turning their visual vocabularies inward, to depict spiritual truths primarily through the formalist languages of shape and color.

These works - later reinterpreted as mere stepping stones toward pure formal abstraction - actually functioned as records of spiritual experience (usually integrated in the artmaking process itself) as well as technologies to trigger contemplative states of awareness in the viewer. While some artists sought to transfer the spiritual charge of artmaking to a new, autonomous Church of Art, others linked their work to existing religious systems, as well as the Eastern traditions that were beginning to filter into Western consciousness.

The Los Angeles-based artists in Practice, practice, practice pursue this latter strategy today, producing their non-figurative, non-objective work in consort with a non-studio spiritual disciipline, mostly rooted in ancient religious and philosophical traditions including Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Amazonian Shamanism, and the cult of the Sumerian goddess Inanna. At a point when the master narratives of contemporary art have become hopelessly garbled and timid, these artists dare to reassert the original and primary function of art making, resulting in profound meaningfulness and dazzling beauty.

--Doug Harvey, curator