Franklin Einspruch

Writing Archive

Seeking Stillness - Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

DigBoston, November 2, 2017 (read there)

"Seeking Stillness" features an idiosyncratic mix of art ranging from Rosso Fiorentino to Agnes Martin, spanning three galleries of the Linde Family Wing and setting an apt tone for nearby explorations of Mark Rothko and Joan Jonas. Lush silver prints of Death Valley by Edward Weston evoke Japanese dry gardens. A Qing-dynasty scholar's rock is paired with Zhan Wang's Artificial Rock (2005), purifying the ironic commentary of the latter, baring the gripping aesthetic of its mighty heft and chrome-plated steel surface.

Stealing the show is a painting from the MFA's holdings by Kenzo Okada. A Story (1966) abuts two views, one of a distant mountain, one through a village gate. Plants, clouds, and stone mix impossibly in the pale air, slowing time and compressing the landscape into visual poetry.

The exhibition's devotion to contemplative looking, conceived as fundamental and essential, deserves to be noted - with the Buddhist half-smile that represents whole delight.

Word count: 153

Return to Archive