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Yoga East Healing Arts Studio presents Tantric Set, paintings by David Fielding, as part of First Friday series June 5

PRESS RELEASE

 

As part of downtown Cape Girardeau’s First Friday series, Yoga East Healing Arts Studio, 827 Broadway, will present Tantric Set, featuring paintings by David Fielding, on Friday, June 5, from 6-8 p.m. The public is cordially invited to view this series of small paintings based on Tantric art from Rajasthan, India. Refreshments will be served, and there is no admission fee. 

David Fielding is an instructor of Fine Art and the gallery director at Three Rivers Community College in Poplar Bluff, Mo. Fielding studied painting at Kansas City Art Institute, earning a BFA in Painting, and went on to earn an MFA in Painting/Sculpture at Fort Hayes State University, Kansas. His work appears in the collection of the Daum Museum of Contemporary Art and the corporate collections of Anheuser Busch, Century 21, and Emerson First National Bank. 

Fielding came to art late—he admits to being a banker once upon a time. He says, “They suggested that I go back to school, and I think they meant for the MBA, but I took a night drawing class instead, and it was a happy accident. And I started down this path.” 

Fielding’s Tantric Set is a series of 16 individual paintings measuring 14 inches by 16 inches, acrylic on canvas. The tightly stretched canvas is prepped with rabbit-skin glue, which tightens the canvas even more. Rabbit-skin glue is not customarily used used with acrylic paints. The combination of rabbit-skin glue and acrylic, applied in varying degrees of thinness, gives the works finishes that range from flat to semi-gloss. Fielding says, “Using the rabbit-skin glue is doing things the Old Master way—it’s a hide glue, a gelatin that dries hard, but it reconstitutes itself—the thinner the paint you apply, the more the glue reconstitutes, and you can get imperfections, blotches, subtle variations in texture and tone and hue.” 

The abstract Tantric paintings from Rajasthan that Fielding takes as inspiration are usually rendered by hand on found pieces of paper and used for meditation. Those paintings frequently depict deities as geometric shapes in brilliant colors, and they seem dualistic, bridging two worlds, to Western sensibilities, because they also look, on the surface, very much like minimalism (think Mark Rothko) or abstract impressionism (like the works of Agnes Martin) or conceptual art (like that of Daniel Buren). 

Tantric Set, like the Rajasthani paintings that inspired Fielding, are also akin to the yantra, a mystical diagram that serves as a visual tool for meditation. Yantras are markedly geometric. Like Fielding’s works and like the paintings from Rajasthan, yantras are used to balance the mind or aid the mind in focusing on spiritual concepts.  

Fielding’s paintings, much like the classical yantras they share a kinship with, begin geometrically. Fielding explains, “I rule them out to see the beginning of the process of painting. I use painters’ tape, and you get bows on the canvas, giving you lines which won’t be totally straight, but subtly curved. You can see that in some of the pieces.”

Fielding says about his series Tantric Set, “This series of small paintings is loosely based on the Tantric paintings coming from Rajasthan, the northwest region of India. These small painting on salvaged paper are made by obscure or anonymous artists. They are a part of private meditative spiritual practice. They are individually pinned up and anointed for use as a spiritual object and then often discarded. Collectors have prized these paintings not only for the spirituality they evoke, but for their decorative qualities as well. I have tried to embody both these qualities in my paintings.”

“The paintings in this series are intended to be used as objects, focal points, for meditation. This idea was at the forefront of my mind as I began the series, and that same idea shaped the decision-making process as I created each individual painting. Even though the intended purpose of each of these paintings is as a focus for meditation, I love that the paintings have an innate duality and can serve as decorative objects as well.”

“You can read much into them,” he says, or view them as decorative, but they were designed to serve as focal points for meditation. Painting itself is a meditative act, he muses. It’s “getting lost in the meditation, getting lost in the painting.” 

In addition to his Tantric Set, Fielding also works figuratively, and he frequently works in encaustic, paint combined with wax. To see other works by David Fielding, visit his website davidfielding.weebly.com

David Fielding’s work will be on display at Yoga East through the end of June. For more information, contact Yoga East Healing Arts Studio at 573-388-7277 or online at yogaeasthealingarts.com. Yoga East is a corporate sponsor of Cape Girardeau’s First Friday events.

For more information, contact Judy Grier, Yoga East Healing Arts Studio, 573-388-7277, or visit Yoga East online at yogaeasthealingarts.com.

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