“Spirituality is such a vibrant and integral part of our lives that even our changing times and all the apparent obstacles have not stifled the powerful partnership of spirituality and art in the modern era,” writes Lynn M. Herbert in her essay for the Companion Book to the Art in the Twenty-First Century series. “The realm of the spiritual is mysterious and inviting,” writes Herbert, “It is a place where we are encouraged to explore the unknown.”
Ann Hamilton’s sensual installations often combine evocative soundtracks with cloth, filmed footage, organic material, and objects such as tables. She is as interested in verbal and written language as she is in the visual, and sees the two as related and interchangeable. In recent work, she has experimented with exchanging one sense organ for another: the mouth and fingers, for example, become like an eye, with the addition of miniature pinhole cameras.
An early video-art pioneer and an internationally exhibited artist, Beryl Korot’s multiple-channel (and multiple-monitor) video-installation works explored the relationship between programming tools as diverse as the technology of the loom and multiple-channel video. For most of the 1980s, Korot concentrated on a series of paintings that were based on a language she created that was an analogue to the Latin alphabet. Drawing on her earlier interest in weaving and video as related technologies, she made most of these paintings on handwoven and traditional linen canvas. More recently, she has collaborated with her husband, the composer Steve Reich, on Three Tales, a documentary digital-video opera in three Acts and a Prologue.
James Turrell’s explorations in light and space impact the eye, body, and mind with the force of a spiritual awakening. Informed by his studies in perceptual psychology and optical illusions, Turrell’s work allows us to see ourselves “seeing.” Whether harnessing the light at sunset or transforming the glow of a television set into a fluctuating portal, Turrell’s art places viewers in a realm of pure experience. His fascination with the phenomena of light is ultimately connected to a very personal, inward search for mankind’s place in the universe. Influenced by his Quaker faith, Turrell’s art prompts greater self-awareness through a similar discipline of silent contemplation, patience, and meditation.
Brought up both in the suburbs of Los Angeles and on a Navajo reservation in New Mexico, John Feodorov experienced the cultural differences between his dual heritages early. He also observed the stereotypes present in American culture at large, where Native Americans were idealized as the living embodiment of spirituality by New Age consumerists. His work addresses this clichéd modern archetype through a humorous interjection of “sacred” items into recognizable consumer products.
Shahzia Sikander specializes in Indian and Persian miniature painting, a traditional, technique-driven style that Sikander imbued with a personal context and history, blending the Eastern focus on precision and methodology with a Western emphasis on creative, subjective expression. In doing so, Sikander transported miniature painting into the realm of contemporary art. Expanding the miniature painting to the wall, Sikander also creates murals and installations, using tissue-paper-like materials that allow for a more free-flowing style. Utilizing performance and various media and formats to investigate issues of border crossing, she seeks to subvert stereotypes of the East and, in particular, the Eastern Pakistani woman.
Duration : 52 mins
Producer : ART21
Production year : 2001
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