Morikami presents Painting Enlightenment: Experiencing Wisdom and Compassion through Art and Science, a new exhibition showcasing the indelible works of renowned Japanese scientist and artist Iwasaki Tsuneo (1917-2002).
The paintings create a contemplative journey and meditations on the interdependence of the universe. Iwasaki shatters the distinctions between image, text, and thought with images representative of both scientific phenomena and Buddhist principles. He forms the images using characters from the sacred Buddhist text, the Heart Sutra.
After retiring from a career as a research biologist, Iwasaki developed his own practice of copying sacred texts, called shyakyō – a form of devotion with a long history in Japan. In his unique process, instead of separating the worms written into vertical blocks, he reconfigures them into images such as DNA, lightning bolts, bubbles, atoms and ants. He created this artistic practice to express the complex relationship between science and Buddhism.
Organized by the Louisiana State University Museum of Art with guest curator Dr. Paula Arai, associate professor of philosophy and religious studies at LSU. Presented at the Morikami Museum and funded in part by the Henri and Tomoye Takahashi Charitable Foundation and the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation.