all images by Sherry Wiggins and Luís Branco
I often throw the I Ching (the ancient book of Chinese wisdom) in transitionary times. I am not a particularly knowledgeable student of the I Ching, however when I throw it – it often resonates with my psychological and spiritual situation as well as my worldly situation. I recently threw hexagram 61 – “Inner Truth.”
The eight basic hexagrams (Heaven, Earth, Water, Fire, Thunder, Mountain, Wind and the Lake) in the I Ching each portray different types of elemental landscapes or archetypal situations. When they are placed above or below each other they convey a different situation or wisdom. These situations and wisdoms are always in the process of change and movement.
Hexagram 61 Chung Fu/Inner Truth is comprised of the hexagram Sun or The Gentle Wind (above) and Tui or The Joyous Lake (below).Here is a quote from Richard Wilhelm’s translation of the I Ching on the hexagram 61 or Inner Truth:
“The attributes of the two trigrams are: above, gentleness, forbearance toward inferiors: below, joyousness in obeying superiors. Such conditions create the basis of a mutual confidence that makes achievements possible. The character fu (“truth”) is actually the picture of a bird’s foot over a fledgling. It suggests the idea of brooding. An egg is hollow. The light-giving power must work to quicken it from outside, but there must be a germ of life within, if life is to be awakened. Far-reaching speculations can be linked with these ideas.”
This idea of brooding fits with my present state. I want to work in a more internal fashion for a period. Drawing has been a contemplative and “interior” practice for me in the past. Much of the performative photographic work from Portugal in the landscape and environments of the Alentejo have an inward and contemplative quality and there are elemental “truths” and archetypal situations revealed in many of the images. This is something that evolved very naturally for me in my work in collaboration with photographer Luís Branco. I would like to further explore the “Inner Truth” of some of these images in drawings. I will be using eight of the performative images from the last several years in Portugal as templates for abstract drawings. These eight images (for me) relate to the eight basic hexagrams in the I-Ching. Each of the eight basic hexagrams has a name, an attribute and an image associated with it. I have chosen eight of the more “elemental” photographic images made in Portugal to match with these hexagrams.
Ch’ien – the Creative – strong – heaven
Woman on Evoramonte, 2015.
K’un – the Receptive – devoted and yielding – earth
Woman in the Pego do Sino, 2016.
K’an – the Abysmal – dangerous – water
Red Ravine, 2017.
Li – the Clinging – light giving – fire
Mirror at Santa Susana, 2017.
Chen – the Arousing – incited movement – thunder
Ken – Keeping Still – resting – mountain
Veiled Woman, 2015.
Sun – the Gentle – penetrating – wind and wood
Tui – the Joyous – joyful – lake
Woman in the Eye of the Lake, 2017.
I am not sure how this new drawing process will go – I will be starting with smaller drawings in ink and graphite and working up to large drawings. In a few days I am going to the countryside in Northern California for three weeks for an art and drawing retreat with a dear friend. Happy summer!