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American Thangka No. 1, oil on canvas with fabric and dowels, 2022

Introduction to American Thangka

Two artists drawn to the southeastern United States from different backgrounds and artistic traditions come together to bring you an original take on an ancient art object, the American Thangka.

Thangka is a Sanskrit word for a painted or a wrtitten "scroll". As a portable precursor to the "book" or modern digital tablet, it is a literary device different from stained glass windows or carvings on a wall, these scrolls carry a literal message that a simple landscape, figure, or still life composition would not sit comfortably in this kind of eastern frame - as opposed to western style mounted scrolls, wooden frames, or illuminated manuscripts. There is also a kind of freedom in the new world where two artists can combine these ancient art forms to re-create, in a contemporary vehicle for contemplation, an ancient device that transcends todays' technology in beauty and in grace: American Thangka.

Curated by Aaron Pomerantz at StudioA in Washington DC, who introduced a textbook and started a conversation about Tibetan Buddhism many years ago with these artists, after much exploration and study - the graphic storytelling format is here translated by the painter, Jorge Perez-Rubio and reinterpreted by fabric artist and quilter Dawn Targee in these series of thangka inspired works of art: American Thangka.

Although the content of the paintings have direct parallels in multicultural, interfaith, or spriritual art, the presentation also ranges from Tibetan thangkas to Japanese scrolls, from Indian pichwaii to early European tapestries with a hint of Art Nouveau: American Thangka.

"All we have done is taken an old way of presenting information and made it today, for the future and for the preservation, and continuation of these stories and ideas; we are in essence, publishing books for if and when the lights go out.

Excellent craftsmanship, brilliant imagery and content aside, this is one more step in a long time effort by may people that have been open to receiving transmissions from the East that have accelerated just in the last century in the West. These "bridges" connecting Eastern traditions in Art to modern Western sensibilities, from the introduction of incense and myrrh to contemporary interpretations of yoga and meditation practices, they all form part of the Kali Yuga Age apocalypse documented in many of the stories in this series. Some are manuals on meditation and some declare philosophies or evoke sentiments that are not new - simply told in a modern vernacular: American Thangka.

American Tangka is an effort to receive one of these transmissions from the Far East and present it from the East Coast of the United States in an attempt to further transmit these stories and formats to an audience without regard for obsolete boundaries, of East and West, and to enlighten and delight the human experience.

American Thangka will be available at StudioA in Washington DC in the Fall/Winter of 2022.

American Thangka No.1

American Thangka No. 2

American Thangka No. 3

A collaboration by painter Jorge Perez-Rubio and fabric artist & quilter Dawn Targee curated by StudioA


For comments, questions, or to arrange a studio visit , please contact: Info@perez-rubio.com