Propping up Heaven Larry Goode

Link & Pin Gallery

Sep. 30, 2024 - Nov. 7, 2021

2235 E. Sixth St., Suite 102
Austin, 78702
PHONE 512 900-8952

Opening Reception Saturday, Oct 2, 2021, 7:00PM-9:00PM with a performance by mellow jazz singer – Chloe Andrews

Happy Hour Friday Oct 22, 2021, 5:30PM-7:30PM

Closing Reception Friday, November 5, 2021, 7:00PM-9:00PM

In my show, Propping Up Heaven, I use paintings and photographs to create a meditative space through which the viewer is invited to contemplate awakening—or its metaphor, Heaven. The paintings are paired with a Zen koan giving each work a unique meaning that varies from person to person—and by deeply considering the meaning of the merged work, the individual engages in mediation, realization, or as is sometimes described in Zen, an accident. The painting’s subjects don’t have an exact correlation with the koans they are united with. The viewer is completing the work by merging their interpretation of each koan with the individual paintings and therefore each painting can have as many different meanings as the individual interpreting them—all with equal validity. My interpretation of the work, as the artist, is the interpretation the viewer takes.

To support the meditative atmosphere of the show, the paintings mirror the Japanese flower arranging art of Ikebana, with its emphasis on space and hyper-intentional placement that fortifies an environment of contemplation. In addition, in many of the works I have incorporated Kintsugi, the Japanese art of assembling cracked pottery, by painting the cracks with gold to emphasize the beauty of the piece’s lived history. The broken parts are made whole by being part of the painting and the show is made whole (meditative) by the merging of koan and painting.

In addition to the large floral paintings there are small photos included depicting violent cloud formations menacing the landscape. It was important to introduce an element of chaos to the show to provide a counterpoint to the meditative pieces. How can we have a still mind without a surrounding chaos to be still in?

I ask the viewer to stay silent while looking at the work. With that request I recall an old Buddhist poem as related by Alan Watts: a monk and his teacher are on a nature walk. And the monk exclaims, “The world itself is Heaven.” His teacher replied, “Yes, it is—it’s just a shame you had to say so.” Because by attempting to define the work with spoken words we stop being Heaven (in an awakened state) and are propping Heaven up—and giving it more importance than it deserves. View and interpret the work as you will, but please don’t prop it up.

Larry Goode is a mixed-media artist known for thoughtful mixed media pieces that explore humor, whimsy, and melancholy. Goode’s work has been acquired by the Art Institute of Chicago’s special collections library and Seton Hospital’s permanent collection, as well as many private collections, and been included in the HBO series, The Leftovers, displayed at the Austin–Bergstrom International Airport, and the Austin Public Library. Spending considerable time as a youth on a ranch east of Dallas and in the Texas hill country, Goode developed a love for the sky, vast open ranges, the unpredictability of weather, and an interest in how these affect our emotions and perceptions. A practitioner of Buddhism, Goode’s current work explores Zen beliefs and concepts. His art examines the mindfulness, melancholy, and joy that can result from the combination of these influences. Goode received his BFA from The University of Texas at Austin, and his MFA from Texas State University. He currently lives and works in Austin, Texas.
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