Josh Bartok

Zen Abstract Photography

Beholding the Cries of the World

Note: SOS 2020 has been canceled as an in-person event. Please check out our artists' profiles, associated social media, and the new SOS YouTube channel.

Studio Location

Arts at the Armory
191 Highland Avenue
Social Media
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Artist's Statement:
Often as we move through our lives we get so caught up in thoughts, agendas, responsibilities and all the rest, that we miss out on the the very texture of experience that makes life so vividly wonderful. In the visual realm, we get so caught up with looking that we forget to see. My photographs arise out of my own Zen meditation practice, which is fundamentally a practice of presence, and the practice of continual opening to the world precisely as it is, to all the beauty that this moment offers. In my photographs, I strive to do this without judgment and without commentary. Our discursive minds tend to always respond to photographs with the question, ?What is it?? And then once we know, we box it away under the description, ?It is a picture of?? and in so doing, we stop seeing. So, although my photographs are of course always pictures ?of? something, they are also things-in-themselves. Only themselves, only this. It is my hope that my pictures may reveal beauty in ugliness, order in chaos, and even offer a glimpse of the sacred in the mundane. My art is influenced by the centuries of Zen artists and calligraphers in Asia and by the abstract expressionists of the West, especially Mark Rothko, Paul Klee, Piet Mondrian, and Robert Motherwell (many of whom were also influenced by the artists of the East). I am also indebted to the artistic spirits of Zen teachers John Daido Loori and Kaz Tanahahi.

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