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Art Exhibit, March 2014: Performance, Practice, Study, Artóby Lydia Linker

March 1 - 31, 2014
in the City Center Art Lounge
300 Page Street
San Francisco

Reception: Friday, March 21, 7 - 9 pm

Artist's Statement
by Lydia Linker

The title of this show is derived from the poem Linda Ruth Cutts wrote on the back of my rakusu, “Sitting, Standing, Walking, Lying down.” I recognize this from the Loving Kindness Meditation or Metta Sutta:

Standing or walking, sitting or lying down,
During all one’s waking hours,
Let one practice the way with gratitude.
I hear this as whatever I am doing, practice wholeheartedly. And everything I am doing is an opportunity to practice.

In Performance, Practice, Study, Art, this is what I am doing during all my waking hours, and this is how I practice the way. As a performance artist, I see no difference among these things. The performance of practicing the forms is beautiful to me. Practicing the forms is study; art is study. My life here as a resident at San Francisco Zen Center is concentrated study of the forms and practice, and I see this as my art.

There are a few types of pieces I am sharing with you in this show.

Kinhin is a piece based on the practice of walking meditation. This was a performance piece I did at my former studio. I did kinhin dressed in my sitting robes across a piece of rice paper after dipping my feet in sumi-e ink.

The series of Sutra Copying pieces are the residue from the formal and meditative practice of Sutra copying. It is a physical way to bring the Dharma to life, much like chanting during service gives voice to the Dharma. For these pieces, I practiced meditative Sutra copying with a brush pen on rice paper. These Sutras are presented in a way that you would hear and chant them during services here at SFZC.

Inconceivable Beauty is a series of instructions to re-create the causes and conditions to experience moments I found profoundly beautiful. I have chosen instructions because any other depiction would not be enough. Even the words in the instruction take away from experiencing the moment fully.

During the opening reception, I will be performing the Practice of Sutra Copying. I invite you to observe the performance action as well as view the pieces on display.

Lydia Linker graduated from the San Francisco Art Institute with a BFA in New Genres in 1999. Originally a painter, Lydia changed her major and focus to performance, video, new media, conceptual, and installation art. She has done various performances and art shows in San Francisco since the late 1990s. Her current work emerges from her discovery of and immersion into Zen Buddhist practice. She came to practice in December 2010 and in addition to sitting zazen, she fell in love with the forms and creating the space for sitting by being on the doanryo. She became a resident practitioner in February 2013 and received lay ordination (jukai) in November 2013. Doanryo is still a significant part of her practice today and her work reflects the respect she has for these positions as well as her wish to share their beauty with you, the audience.