The True Nature of Mind

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Through May 25 at Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens, 253 Barcelona Rd., West Palm Beach. Call 561-832-5328.
 "The True Nature of Mind" has its roots in Buddhism. In the hands of artist Maria Karki, the philosophy blossoms as a modern twist on spiritual tradition. Within the collection of mixed-media works, flowers abound, frequently as part of a mandala — an intricate geometric design, symbolic of the universe, used for meditation. At their centers, traditional mandalas have the image of a deity, but Karki's place other symbolic elements — a peace sign, for example — there instead. Mandala #32 celebrates the mind's vibrancy in the form of a hot-pink bloom in the center of its structured chaos and crisp lines, formed by collaged photographs. In contrast, cut paper and smears of paint offer a looseness that defines its blue floral counterpart, Mandala #16. Where vibrancy defines some works, others — like Happy as Fish — find their beauty in subtle pastels and delicate balances of suggested forms rather than overt ones. Like the other works in the exhibit, those of mixed media — including oil paint, gold leaf, paper, and glue — contain their energy beneath a thick, glossy acrylic finish. More playful and free, a series of free-standing works explores similar themes. Works from this Icon series are found in frames cast of colorful translucent resin or rustic found and salvaged wood — the artist's contemporary approach to the brocade fabrics that usually frame such images. The mandala is traditionally symmetrical, but in Karki's hands, not all the lines are straight, nor are all the circles perfect; however, they are always balanced. The artist intends that these works represent the mind in its pure state, "joyous and free from all disturbing emotions."
 
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