Swan Vision presents
Twenty-three artists respond to the Two Birds Upanishad
May 5 through June 22, 2019
During these complicated times, of the earlyish 21st century, it can be useful to still the mind and look within. An ancient text from the Mundaka Upanishad* offers this instruction: Two birds perch in the selfsame tree. One bird eats the sweet and bitter fruit. The other bird watches. This metaphor images life-long companions—the individual self and the higher Self (or witness)—in one tree or one body. In December of 2018, Swan Vision curator, Cynde Randall, invited some of her favorite artists to respond to the two bird Upanishad. Twenty-two artists accepted her invitation. They include: B.J. Christofferson, Kelly Connole, Jim Denomie, Jan D. Elftmann, Brian Frink, Bill Gorcica, Christie Hawkins, Barbara Kreft, David Lefkowitz, Mary Ludington, Monica Lyon, Celeste Nelms, Stuart Nielsen, Arne Nyen, Lisa Nebenzahl, Judy Onofrio, John Pearson, Cynde Randall, Nancy Randall, Xavier Tavera, Sandra Menefee Taylor, Ann Wood, David Wyrick
The artwork featured in “Two Birds” presents an array of signature styles through paintings, photographs, prints and sculptures. While bird imagery does occupy this presentation, the exhibition also reveals diverse symbolism and a surprising cast of characters, chosen by the artists, to illuminate the ‘two birds’ of consciousness.
* The Upanishads are ancient, sacred texts—central to Hinduism—that address self-realization, non-violence, compassion and other spiritual concepts still relevant to life in the 21st century. The Two Birds text, presented above, describes the gist of the Mundaka Upanishad, Chapter 3, verse 1. The Upanishads were originally written in Sanskrit, with numerous translations available today.