X Buddhas

K. Kauffman, X Buddhas, Ink, Collage, 26”x 21”, 2022

In X Buddhas, I combined ink drawing with collage. I superimposed a photograph of a black Buddha statue in front of the larger white seated shape. I placed these two on top of a background of tiny hand-drawn ink lines.

The ink backdrop was darker and denser at the top and lighter at the bottom, creating a simple form of perspective.

I love to layer meditating figures, one on top of the other to indicate the differing modes of perception I experience when I meditate: busy thinking versus spacious mental rest. 

In the mid and lower sections, I wrapped translucent fishing line in an X shape, most clearly seen over the black Buddha form. I did this intuitively, without a clear purpose in mind. It seemed right at the time and I still like it. An X can mean, “X marks the spot” (a special place) or “I’m crossing out a mistake.” This venerable letter can mean a former status, such as ex-wife or ex-teacher. It can denote the unknown or mysterious, as in “X-Files,” the name of a long-running television series. In popular culture, it might signify loosening or relaxing, as seen in the commercial product Ex-Lax. I enjoy the ambiguity of X and allow it to have various meanings on different days.

The X design in the center lower area covers complex layers and balances the strong, simple head shape which dominates the top of the image.  I learn to revel in the juxtapositions: dark and light, simple and complicated, energetic and calm. This collage shows me these contradictions, which are all parts of life. I enjoy contemplating these complexities each day.

Buddha Floating (and more) was exhibited by the Walter Wickiser Gallery in New York, July 21 to September 22, 2023. This group exhibit, Gallery Artists Part XX, is online only now.