Art brings Zen to downtown Hammond


Shaelyn Martinez/The Lion’s Roar

The Zen Aesthetics exhibition, by Rosemary Goodell, is now accessible to the public in the Hammond Regional Arts Center until Friday, Sept. 27. Maureen Joyce, executive director of the HRAC, encourages viewers to reflect on how this art makes them feel after observing the paintings in the gaery.

The Hammond Regional Arts Center started a new exhibition called “Zen Aesthetics.”

“Zen Aesthetics” was created by Rosemary Goodell, who explored wabi-sabi, an aesthetic that she was aiming to capture in her art.

According to Goodell, wabi-sabi can be defined as, the beauty of things: imperfect, impermanent and incomplete. There are also seven aesthetic principles to achieve wabi-sabi: irregularity, simplicity, weathered, natural, subtle, tranquil and unbounded by convention.

Goodell’s art work is brought to life from the transmission of these values and also Japan’s artistic tradition.

“While the subjects are of personal expressions on current events, family relationships, reflections on nature, and personal beliefs, the indication of abstracted objects and personal symbols are also included within her paintings, representing nascent ideas that have no words,” said Tara Bennett, media coordinator for the HRAC.

Bennett believes that such exhibitions help people in the community become close to art and culture.

“It lays the groundwork for exploration about how to maintain vital cultural and community traditions and integrates art into our daily lives,” said Bennett. “Art and artists aren’t only in museums or concert halls — they are all around us, and HRAC helps people to realize their own full potential.”

Maureen Joyce, the executive director of HRAC, feels this is a good example to show viewers that abstract art can have a specific meaning to the artist but be portrayed in viewers personal meaning.

“The exhibition was chosen first to showcase the art work of Rosemary Goodell then the ‘Zen Aesthetics’ rose out of it by looking at her artwork,” said Joyce. “This also was recognizing how she studied in Japan with a full scholarship and lived in Japan, and so her work was heavily influence with Zen aesthetics.”

Joyce incorporates events to teach visitors about the Japanese culture.

“It’s my job to teach the community about ‘Zen Aesthetics’ so that we can plan formal tea ceremony, bonsai demonstration and other events,” explained Joyce. “We are trying to have a more inclusive and engaged space that showcases the diversity, also very easy to relate to.”

Bennett explained what she feels the exhibit will bring to the Hammond area.

“This exhibition will give an example of how Japanese art principles can be integrated into modern Western art,” said Bennett. “It’s a calming and peace-filled exhibition that truly honors Japanese aesthetics.”

The Japanese aesthetics are currently on display now through Friday, Sept. 27. Public hours are Wednesday to Friday from noon to 6 p.m.

Joyce encouraged students to get engaged with the HRAC by having an escape with the variety types of art work or even submit their own. Students can go on the HRAC website, become a member and also submit a portfolio.