Body to Bodhi: Heart to Heart Art

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Body to Bodhi is a conceptual art exhibition that connects body shapes to nature and nature to the universe. “The art focuses on how we can use the life we are living now to go a step further along the path to enlightenment,” curator Hayley Marie Colston explains. “The pieces contributed by the twelve artists exhibiting were open to their own interpretation of what that path means.”

Opening Saturday the 19th for a limited run at Oddville event space in DTLA, Body to Bodhi is a wide ranging collection of paintings, photography, mixed media, installations, sculpture, and virtual reality. In short, one vibrant, witty, cavalcade of art.

Oddville’s Steve Payne and Ezra Croft stepped in to host the event, which is experiential in all the best ways.

Artists on display include Nychole Owens, Gus Harper, Hung Viet Nguyen, Johnny Naked, Snow and Kevin Mack, David Malana, David Cedeno, Reid Godshaw, and Bill Mather, among others.

Matt Elson’s Infinity Boxes, below, offer a transcendental experience unique to each viewer – and unique to the same viewer exploring the mirrored, kaleidoscopic sculptures from both the front and back of the pieces.

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Yes, even babies were enthralled. This piece reminded us of a more intimate version of Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Room—The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away, now on display in the Broad’s permanent collection.

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Another piece by Elson evoked memories of fun house mirrors. What is your body or bodhi reflecting?

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Below, guests experience the virtual reality of Kevin Mack, Zen Parade. This is truly and honestly an amazing artwork, the viewing of which is unique to each viewer. The piece lives up to its tag lines of “meditative, invigorating, entertaining, universal.”

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The project is entirely a family affair.

Mack worked for years on the technology for this experience, and is a pioneer in the visual arts, known for creating the opening visual sequence in the film Fight Club, as well as winning an Academy Award for visual effects in the film What Dreams May Come. Wife Snow Mack served as producer on this piece, Mack’s sons were also involved in the project. Ray Mack created the music for this work of abstract dimensionalism, Jonathan Mack worked with his father as tech adviser on the 360 degree motion.

Mack says “It’s the culmination of many years of development. I’ve worked in visual effects, neuroscience, and the mechanism of perception. The shape space explores visual consciousness, and the aspect of virtual reality that’s new, the spatial presence using it to create mindfulness.”

I saw alien figures, sea life such as turtles and fish, while my partner saw elephants and other jungle animals. Morphing three-dimensional paint splatters become living, organic beings. Tough to explain without seeing it – the solution is – see it.

“It’s different for every person,” Mack asserts. “The brain has the tendency to find meaning in an abstract medium, the way people can see an image of Jesus in toast or a ghost in a stack of clothes. In this case, there is nothing there to actually identify the images, and it releases your verbal mind so your abstract mind can experience it.”

“It’s a gift for us to share,” Snow Mack adds.

“It’s a truly profound experience,” Kevin Mack continues. “I made it and I’ve seen it five or six hundred times at least but I see different things every time I go through it. It’s a natural system in which I create the rules that govern the system.”

Mack describes his work as a form of simple artificial life. “It’s like crystals. Different from biological life, but entities that have behavior that is generated by a genome with wide variability.”

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Kevin and Snow Mack, above. Below,  works by Liz Huston on the left, the nature-body beauties are by Bill Mather on the right.

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Above, curator Colston with one of her earliest artistic supporters: her mom. Behind them, and below, a beautiful, immense piece by Gus Harper.

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Below, photography by Colston. The image of trees, center, was a travel photo that captures a haunting setting and a mystical rainbow.

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Below, the hot, bright desert image is by artist Johnny Naked.

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Below, more works by Gus Harper, whose west side gallery recently showed multi-media works including an installation of arrows titled “Kill the DJ.”

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Below, more of the Macks’ work: 3D printed sculpture and multi-media.

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Above, a living sculpture: bonsai trees created by Thousand Oaks artist Travis Goldstein.

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Above, Colston with artist Hung Viet Nguyen. His landscape, below, has a quilted quality in texture and design. Nguyen describes his work as an almost mystical, memory-based process. “When I paint, I have two ways of looking at a landscape, sometimes through memory entirely, at other times through a photograph.” The artist cites influences from Chinese landscape painting to David Hockney, but his fluid, dream-like work is uniquely his own.

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Didn’t make it to Oddville for this inclusive, immersive, and above all heart-felt and mind-bending exhibition? Watch for more from these artists, curator Colston, and this venue in coming months.

  • Genie Davis, all photos by Jack Burke

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