Dogen was a prolific writer and poet. In the 13th Century he would have strolled among a variety of gardens in Japan. Throughout his work there are references to nature that stun the listener…
Binding: Soft Bound
Publication Date: Spring 2020
World Rights: Available
Size: 7.5″ x 10″ Landscape
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“The experience of daily life makes its appearance in the work that is created.”
7.5" x 10" Landscape
Dogen was a prolific writer and poet. In the 13th Century he would have strolled among a variety of gardens in Japan. Throughout his work there are references to nature that stun the listener. These references made Marcia wonder. Wonder what he saw as a boy. Wonder what colors and fragrances he enjoyed as a young man. Wonder what branches and trees he sat under as an old monk. As with all artists, the experience of daily life makes its appearance in the work that is created.
‘Clean Slate’ combines Dogen’s poetry with images of plants he might have seen during his lifetime while living in Japan. With the support of Kyoto University and the San Francisco Botanical Garden Library Marcia was able to complete research that led to a list of plants that are recorded to have existed in Japan during the 13th century. She made it her intention to find and photograph these specimens. The gathering of these images is not to make a scientific analysis, rather to consider and imagine what beauty provoked his writing.
Japanese literature is well populated with descriptions of beauty and imperfection. Marcia’s pictures isolate and render the plant so that it no longer is a member of a garden, but rather an example, a cue, an object that invites the viewer. Alone in the garden. Throughout the history of literature there are inquiries as to where an author lived; what studio setting a painter worked in; what musical melodies influenced a composer’s later work. ‘Clean Slate’ brings the rhyme of Dogen together with the glance of things both he and Lieberman might have seen.
Marcia Lieberman is a photographer, author, and academic. Her work has focused on people of note and particular projects driven by an idea or subject that concerns her. Published books include When Divas Confess, and Being Still. During her years of teaching at the University of California, Berkeley, and California College of Art, Oakland, Lieberman lectured on time and space, dwellings, representation of time passing, and the interview as a visual entity.
She resides in San Francisco and passes much of her time at the San Francisco Zen Center, where being still is a daily practice. Her interest in temple arts has led her to study the way of tea and altar flower arranging. She recently finished her graduate courses in Buddhist Scholarship at the Institute of Buddhist Studies, Graduate Theological Seminary, University of California, Berkeley.
Taigen Dan Leighton
Smelling the Flowers in Dogen’s Gardens – Marcia Lieberman’s ‘Clean Slate’
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