Brooklyn, NY, United States
About Mary Devincentis
A goose trapped in an illusory bottle, a deconstructed daisy and a bird entangled in his own thoughts in the form of branches are some of the images I have created to explore mind-challenging Buddhist concepts such as emptiness, mindfulness, selflessness, nonattachment, compassion and karma. Other pieces in this ongoing series derive their imagery from the Jataka Tales, a Buddhist precursor to Aesops Fables. These ancient stories exemplify the moral precepts of Buddhism. Many are based on the previous incarnations of Buddha, often in animal form, and were initially told by him to his disciples as teaching tales.A suggestion by printmaker Brenna Johnson led me to experiment with used tea bag paper as the surface for these watercolor/gouache paintings. I have since learned that tea and Buddhism have a long relationship. One story, as told by James Norwood Pratt, claims that tea came to China from India via the first Zen patriarch, Bodhidharma. Once in China, he began a nine year stint of meditation in front of a wall at the Shaolin Temple. To make sure he would not fall asleep, he cut off his eyelids. It is said that the Goddess of Compassion Quan Yin transformed his fallen eyelids into tea plants so that henceforth, all dharma seekers would have tea as an aid to wakefulness for their journey to enlightenment.