The Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens, in Delray Beach, Fl., on May 8, will present the exhibition, Painting Enlightenment: Experiencing Wisdom and Compassion through Art and Science, featuring works by Japanese scientist and artist Iwasaki Tsuneo (1917-2002).
The paintings create a contemplative journey and meditations on the interconnectedness of the universe. Iwasaki collapses distinctions between image, text, and thought with imagery representative of both scientific phenomena and Buddhist principles. He forms the images by using characters from the sacred Buddhist text, the Heart Sutra.
Upon retiring from a career as a research biologist, Iwasaki expanded his personal practice of copying sacred texts, called shyakyō – a form of devotion with a long history in Japan. In his unique process, instead of separating the verses written into vertical blocks, he reconfigures them into images such as DNA, lightning bolts, bubbles, atoms, and ants. He created this artistic practice to express the intricate relationship between science and Buddhism.
Painting Enlightenment will be on exhibit at the Morikami Museum through Sept. 19, 2021. The Louisiana State University Museum of Art organized the exhibition with guest curator, Dr. Paula Arai, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies at LSU.
Photo Credit: Morikami Museum