Opening Reception: April 21, 2017. 6pm-9pm
Exhibition Dates: April 21 – May 5, 2017
I became a Falun Dafa practitioner in 2005 after a long spiritual search. The practice’s exposition of the principles Truthfulness, Compassion, and Tolerance helped me deal with depression and caused me to approach my life in a more meaningful and insightful way. It helped me take responsibility for my actions and let go of things over which I had no control. I was able to increase my self-awareness and self-control which resulted in a greater sense of peace and an inner calm. Falun Dafa is a sect of the Buddha school made public in China where it is now outlawed and persecuted. It is currently practiced in over 100 countries across six continents.
The Falun Dafa literature often contains stories of Taoist deities and Buddhas. It speaks of the elevation of one’s moral character as part of the cause of experiencing different states of consciousness. These paintings combine different scenes that have flashed before me as I cultivate the principles of the practice. They also contain, as their subject matter, the stories or understandings of other practitioners.
I attempt to combine this traditional Eastern philosophy with a traditional Western approach to painting. Falun Dafa expounds upon the use of the traditional techniques of all cultures within all of the arts. I therefore attempt to approach my subject matter with as much respect and piety as I can while using a traditional western approach as the best approach for me to visually communicate my understanding. The experience of life has multiple layers to it, and I approach my process with a grisaille underpainting that becomes fully developed with the addition of colored layers.
My intentions are to visually depict my understanding of some of the spiritual aspects of Falun Dafa. My understanding is but one of many concerning the profundity of the practice. I have approached this body of work with the respect and sincerity that is a result of experiencing its subject matter.
Eric Bess grew up in Springfield, Ohio. He often tried to emulate comic book and comic card art at a young age. He also took an interest in different religious subjects and the commonality between them. His adoration of the arts and desire to be technically proficient led him to obtain a Bachelor of Fine Art in Drawing from Wittenberg University in 2008.
After graduating, he began to teach drawing at the Springfield Art Museum, Clark State Community College, Wittenberg University, and privately. His religious studies continued, and he was consistently trying to find a way to implement his spiritual understanding into his art. He attended the New York Academy of Art in 2011 to further his training. He later attended the Academy of Art University where he obtained a Master of Fine Art in Painting in 2016 and is now a PhD student at the Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts.
April 21, 2017
Visual, Painting, Drawing