Life and the Deathless: Exalted Beauty
Let us speak a truism – that human life stretches between birth and death; where the three terms – life, birth, death – intertwine in their respective senses according to any number of interpretive schemes. To gloss three such schemes: (1) existentialist, which posits birth and death as the limits of life such that these limits exceed clear sense, are beyond representation and understanding, yet are at the same time serve as primordial conditions for meaning-making in life; (2) traditional Christian, which posits a continuation of life after death as everlasting; and (3) Tibetan Buddhist, which posits a Mind-stream of ongoing Consciousness “in which” births and deaths take place, life in essence as the vital energies of a sentient being continuously undergo reconfiguration in the process of transmigration.
In her Artist Statement, Lucy Hardie explains that:
“Death is presented as a catalyst for transformation, each piece symbolically reflecting an intimacy with death, as a means of pointing to what remains Deathless: our true nature. Death therefore, is presented as a herald to Life, not an end.”
Hardie’s artistic intention aligns to varying degrees with all three of the above schemes. Death as general condition for giving meaning to life (existential); which through a practice of intimacy with death (as in the Christian tradition of ars moriendi; here via exhibition art); leads to the spark of the Deathless as our true nature (Buddhism). The result is that life shines forth as Life, the everyday revealing innate Beauty.
The glory of her work is that this is not abstract theory, but rather is shown as inseparable from the lived singularities of existence. Hence the integral brilliance of Hardie’s art which presents anew in each work a unique aesthetic sparking between and amongst these themes, differentially deepening insight into the Beauty of Life enabled by our Deathless depths.
From the artist:
I seek for my work to evoke in the viewer a deeper experience of Life’s infinite beauty and mystery, to help others remember our already free and interconnected nature. In experiencing who we are in our totality, parts of ourselves that once felt isolated and separate are given the opportunity to experience being held in an infinite embrace. Integral in my attempt to elicit this experience in the viewer is exposing the polarities of the human experience, both the light and the dark. Rather than to make comment on, I seek simply to bring awareness to both so as to provide the opportunity for integration and a greater sense of unity within our selves and our environment. In this vein, death is presented as a catalyst for transformation, each piece symbolically reflecting an intimacy with death, as a means of pointing to what remains Deathless: our true nature. Death therefore, is presented as a herald to Life, not an end.
In my most recent work, black and white has formed my palette, representing the duality of our natures. Using a Micron .005 ink pen on cotton rag, my drawings are built up in many fine layers. I relish working in detail. While my methods are labour intensive, I aim to minimise evidence of this so the viewer is given the greatest opportunity to experience what the message of the creation is, without getting distracted by or lost in how it is communicated.
About Lucy Hardie
Lucy Hardie is an emerging Australian artist based in Ocean Grove, Victoria. Born in Shepparton, Victoria, she began her education at a Waldorf school that her parents built on their farm and it was here that her artistic inclinations were fostered. Surrounded by her Mother and Father’s extensive collection of art books, she became enchanted at an early age by the work of Grünewald, Repin and the illustrations by H. J. Ford and Ivan Bilibin, often losing herself in their otherworldly imagery.
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