In my mind there is little distinction between the practice of art making and the practice of yoga. When I draw in ink from a veritable stream of consciousness, I am literally drawing from—as in tapping into—a seemingly infinite, variable, and yet indescribable source. By mark-making through this source I am, in a sense, becoming some aspect of it. This by definition is yoga, which means to yoke, or commune, with the infinite.
Open Studio presents an inquiry into self, wherein the yogic method of svadhyaya, or self-study, is rigorously applied to posture and pen. These meticulous drawings reflect the artist’s state of consciousness after experiencing various yoga postures (asanas), which are shown within the age-old symbol of self and the microcosm: the circle. Simultaneously, the carefully-sequenced practice of ancient yogic asanas within the gallery space allows for the dissemination of meditation, thus blurring the line between the yoga and art studio practices. By merging these practices, Open Studio expands common understanding of what yoga means while exploring its fundamental tie to meditative artwork. The space is a gallery and a yoga studio, providing a guided study and a free practice. It is both introverted and extroverted; it is both art and asana.
Through this method, the tools for asana and meditation—mats, sequences, studio space—become one with the artwork, and together they aim to achieve yoga. This exhibition is at once deeply philosophical, highly introspective, and an open-armed playspace for connecting to creative energy.
Open Studio consists of 30 ink drawings, a meditative video projection, and a fully-equipped yoga studio with intentionally crafted sequences.
27 of the ink drawings were created through a self-developed method I coined svadhyayasana, a portmanteau meaning self-study within a yogic posture. After meditating in a posture until I deemed I could feel its essence (ranging from a few minutes to an hour), I immediately traced a petri dish on bristol paper and began recounting the energy I felt in the posture through penwork. The remaining 3 ink drawings are larger in scale and in a series entitled On Becoming, encapsulating my own, ongoing journey towards existential security and attaining yoga.
The video projection, made collaboratively with artist and yoga enthusiast Brendan Sullivan, features gold ferromagnetic fluid overlaid with ink and water droplets in order to create a calming, ethereal, and primordial visual while attendees practiced yoga in the space.
Yoga classes taught in the gallery were constructed with instrumental playlists in collaboration with a fellow yoga instructor and medical student, Matt Adan. We grouped classes into four major categories to diversify our offerings in order to accommodate goals of the attendees; the categories were Brighten, Energize, Deepen, and Cleanse. Honoring the centuries-old practice of yoga, classes began with modernized pranayama (breathwork) and ended with guided meditation that was carefully crafted to be space-appropriate. Pop-up yoga sessions were donation-based and open to the city of Nashville, with online registration available and all equipment provided.