Wild little things
— Franck André Jamme, “Tantra Song“
Life changes in a moment, as in the apprehension of love. One day in the ’80s in the library of the San Francisco Art Institute, a book fell into my hands. Ever since then I’ve been thinking about Tantra paintings. A centuries-old tradition that continues into the present, these rare anonymous works are made by Rajasthani tantrikas for use in private meditation. Larry Rinder’s memorable exhibition Searchlight: Consciousness at the Millennium at The Wattis Institute in 1999 included a roomful of Tantra paintings. In my initial encounter with the real thing, I felt as though the space between my molecules expanded. Each small work, a locus of concentrated radiant energy, held vastness. Returning to the exhibition week after week, I had the good fortune to always be alone in the gallery. Wall labels told me the paintings were from the collection of Franck André Jamme. Not recognizing his name, I soon learned Franck is a great poet, curator and scholar. Later Franck and I became collaborators and friends. In various circumstances, I’ve spent hours contemplating unframed Tantra paintings held in my hands. Each time it’s been a kind of miracle.
Archive: working drawings