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ADVANCING THE ARTS ACROSS MARYLAND

JOHN SHIPMAN

JOHN SHIPMAN

Artist Work

A Simple Solution
2006
acrylic on paper
7.5"x5.75"
The Alchemist
2005
acrylic on paper
7.5"x5.75"
The Realized
2005
acrylic on paper
7.5"x5.75"
What He Already Had
2006
acrylic on paper
7.5"x5.75"
The Ecstatic
2005
acrylic on paper
7.5"x5.75"
The Comfort of Water
2006
acrylic on paper
7.5"x5.75"

Artist Information

Artistic Category

Visual Arts

Artist Statement

I read an article recently about video artist Bill Viola and how his spirituality affects the making of his artwork. He asks midway through the article “Could my art exist in service to something else, something much broader and deeper?” It was wonderful to read that such a noted artist, one of the giants in today’s art scene, was questioning this type of depth within his own work. There are many forms of art and many more reasons to make art, but I agree with Mr. Viola when he says, “the goal of all images of consequence remains the same – liberation”. The artwork that I make is a reflection of what I learn as I awake and mature, an awareness of the structure that underlies everything. To be awake is to see this underlying structure that seemingly does not make rational sense. Actually, to put it better, to be awake is to see the irrational within the universe and understand the truth within it. It’s very hard to do, everything we are taught is based on rational thinking (including sometimes the making of art in schools) and to see anything else – to believe in anything else – is to be irrational. But within irrationality is liberation. This liberation is what is hinted at within our religious traditions and today’s spirituality. It is the freedom from suffering sought after in Buddhism. It is the removal of time and its restraints in the words of Krishnamurti. It is Heaven for Christians, and it is knowing Allah for Muslims. These are all wonderful things – they are all the wonderful thing. Liberation. Like Mr. Viola, I ask if my artwork can exist for something much broader and deeper. With this in mind, the theme of love – not just romantic love, but a universal sense of an ever flowing love – seems the most appropriate, and one that is a lot of fun to explore.