Our first exhibition titled “L’Objet de Moi” is about an object that is sacred or meaningful for us or a metaphor for how we see ourselves as Yellow House artists.
“Art is a way of recognizing oneself.” – Louise Bourgeois
Truly, is anything missing now?
Sam Sokyo Randall
Water based ink and pigmented watercolor on 100% cotton acid free paper
After many years of feeling profoundly dis-connected from my body, living what I called a “half life,” this work expresses my current experience of embodiment, of feeling whole and fully alive.
The imprint is of my feet and was created using the traditional Japanese style of Gyotaku, developed in the 1800’s as a way for fishermen to record their catches. It is based on rubbing techniques that were developed earlier in China and Syria. This direct method of nature printing produces a one-of-a-kind recording of an object at full scale. Learn more here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gyotaku
The title of the artwork is from the poem “Song of Zazen” by Hakuin Ekaku (1686-1786). The poem is an expression of the realization of one’s true nature or true self in this very moment, right where we stand, a core teaching of Zen Buddhism.
The closing lines read:
Boundless and free is the sky of samadhi!
How bright and transparent the full moon of wisdom!
Truly is anything missing now?
Nirvana is openly shown to your eyes.
This earth where we stand is the true Lotus land!
This very body, the Buddha.
Read the full Song of Zazen, in various translations:
4″ wide by 7″ tall (including the bell jar)
Metallic embroidery thread, water soluble stabilizer, metal wire, glass
My l’objet de moi is a hand-guided machine embroidered sculpture of a dogwood sprig. This piece is a meditation of myself as I am in this moment in 2020 – quiet yet present, staying put yet growing, an individual yet a partner, reflecting on the past yet looking to the future. The dogwood is also a direct reference to my Appalachian heritage and home – meant to act as a token of affection to place near to my heart that I physically cannot travel to under these pandemic circumstances.
I (yet to be) am
ink, gold, silver on wood
I (yet to be) am
I am transparent
like the morning dew
I obey to strange lands
as water takes the shape of the Holy Grail
I am not afraid of change
like water that transforms from snow to rain
I go around people who are imbued with deceit
as water goes around rocks
I am fearless
like water that never hesitates as it drops from high cliffs
I seldom forget nobility
as water retains a memory of what was
I refine myself with all I learn
like water renews in its self-cooling, swirling, serpentine motion
I am persistent
like the ancient water has been making its way through boulders
I listen with my heart
as water embodies the indigenous stories of the history of a place
water is a portal to realms of deeper truth
as in the epic of Gilgamesh
I am the portal to distant lands I create
water is destruction from which emerges life
as for Noah or Manu
as for me, I give life to a piece of clay
water is wise in its ceaseless cycles of pulsations
while it fills wells of eternal life
and searches for the diffused lights of the forest
I seek wisdom like a thirsty man seeking water
I (yet to be) am water
as before water, life was not
after life, water will be
This poem portrays what I want to be rather than what I am. I refer to some of the fascinating attributes of water presented in Sufi, Native American and epic narratives, Islamic and Christian sacred texts and scientific studies.
For my artwork, I used an ancient gilding technique to create a background of gold and silver for the river, which symbolizes what I want to be someday. Gilding is a long and meditative technique, where first a layer of red clay is applied, sanded and polished; then the gold leaf is adhered to the surface of the clay by breathing on the clay surface. The clay symbolizes the earth from which humans were created. Breathing is giving life.
Gold is a deliberate choice as well. It symbolizes purity and my quest to perfect, illuminate and refine myself, just like water’s quest to refine itself by swirling, and cooling. Silver is symbolic of awareness, clarity, and vision – three attributes I seek. Silver is also a symbol of the ability to be molded into something better keeping the core integrity intact just like I wish to be flexible and obey to strange lands and be strong.
That cool, transparent, flexible, fearless, persistent, and wise river is me – yet to be.
Bir gün (ben)
sabah oluşan berrak çiğ tanesi gibi olduğum gibiyim, gizlim saklım yoktur
uzak diyarlara gitsem boyun eğer, uyum sağlarım
suyun bardağın şeklini alması gibi
suyun kardan yağmura yağmurdan buhara dönüşmesi gibi
dürüst olmayan insanların etrafından dolanırım
suyun önüne çıkan kayaların etrafından dolaşması gibi
yüksek kayalardan düşen şelaleler gibi
suyun hafızası olduğu gibi
yenilerim kendimi öğrendiklerimle
suyun kendini akarken soğutup her daim temiz kaldığı gibi
suyun etrafından dolaşamadığı kayaları delmesi gibi
suyun bulunduğu yerdeki hikayelerin tarihini barındırması gibi
su bilinmeyene giden geçit olur Gılgamış’ın da geçtiği
bense hayalimde yarattığım diyarlara bir geçidim
su felaketin ardından hayat verendir
Nuh Peygamberde olduğu gibi
bense toprağa can veririm heykellerimle
su bilgedir, durmak bilmeyen ritmiyle sonsuzluğun kuyularını doldururken
ve ormanın gölgelerini ararken
bense susuz birinin su araması gibi arar dururum bilgeliği
bugün değil belki ama bir gün
ben de su gibi olacağım
sudan önce yaşam yoktu
yaşamdan sonra su olacak
I am a Copper Valve
4″ x 4″, with frame 8″ x 8″
Oil on canvas
The ties that bind us and make us.
Family is so much a part of us. The valve represents my fathers’ hard-working life, from days spent in the coal mines, to owning a Dairy Farm in Crested Butte. When pasteurized milk became the rage and fresh milk could no longer provide a living, he began plumbing. It represents his resilience and he always did it with a huge grin on his face. He was a man of few words, but when he did speak they always had so much meaning.
Some things are elemental.
Copper is a naturally-occurring metal that has high electrical and thermal conductivity, an essential element for human health. This tried and true metal has high levels of strength, conductivity, and resistance to corrosion. In particular, corrosion resistance is an important trait for a valve. I believe in my resistance to corrosion.
The beauty in the ordinary.
The valve represents something very mundane, but upon further examination, you realize what an interesting object it is. A device for controlling the passage of fluid or air through a pipe or duct, helping to connect and distribute water. It helps regulate the flow so there is not too much or too little. The heart has four valves.
A copper valve is meaningful, essential, and ordinary, traits I marvel at.
3″ x 3″ x 3”
I am a desert adobe made of my surrounding.
Of site-specific maleable mud.
Of warm, creosote-scented air whistling through saguaro spines.
Of scurrying Gambel’s quail in sandy arroyos.
Of waving ocotillo in bright bloom.I am the peach sun setting on the soft-edged granite dells.
3.5″ x 4.5″ x 2.5″
Glazed ceramic covered in selenite and amethyst crystals
As an old piece once forgotten, this form has been given new life. It marks a point in my past in which I was forced to stop and truly listen to my body. It is a symbol of a time in which I needed to stop for rest, which was necessary for my personal growth. The completion of this sculpture is personally significant in ways I could have never predicted; it has been a tool for remembering and learning.
Dark blue glaze on the surface of this piece symbolizes the 6th chakra according to Hindu tradition, Anja – or The Third Eye. The third eye chakra is said to connect people to their intuition, give them the ability to communicate, or help them receive messages both internally and externally. Purple amethyst symbolizes Sahasrara, the Crown Chakra, known as the connector to our spiritual nature. The realm of deep connections and dreams. It is the 7th and final major chakra within the body. These two chakras are significant to me in my personal yoga practice, a period of new growth and full readiness to do work.
Selenite crystals are known to represent the 8th Chakra – the Star chakra, Vyapini. It is the first of the chakras which exist just beyond the body, connecting us to the realm of energies. Said to be located a few inches above the crown of the head, this chakra maintains a close connection to the earthly body. To me, it is a symbol of growth, of change, and of moving beyond comfortable patterns.