Ensō, 2020
Ink on washi paper, charred and painted wooden grid

Amelia Currier and John Egner: Our piece, entitled ‘Ensō’ is a synthesis of geometry, spontaneity and light. Both artists share a minimalist sensibility that is tempered by a human, organic element. There is a chasm between the formality of the grid and the extempore ink gestures that is resolved by their echoing circles. The corners and center of John’s once whole square grid, were burned, then re-composed to create a circle. The ink gestures floating behind are a single stroke meditation exercise, practiced by Zen monks. ‘Ensō’ can be regarded as a meditative totem, an expression of the silent, pre-linguistic world from which we have evolved.

Creative Process: Our collaboration began with the arrival of a square, geometric grid built by Egner. It was a perfect focal element with its minimal, open, wooden structure- three characteristics that embody my own imagery. I began exploring the grid itself, by creating a relief print, – white ink on black paper.

Lately I have been exploring the ancient Japanese wood burning technique Shousugiban, so the impulse to char the grid was at hand. We needed a shift in the grid to integrate it with my own organic sensibility. So, I burned the corners and center of John’s grid, and placed the corners in the interior of what was now a circle.

I then hung two ink gestures on diaphanous paper behind the grid to complete the dialogue of texture and light. To the right is an example of an ensō circle. The practice of a one movement gesture is an element of the Buddhist meditation tradition. The resolution and integration of a formal geometric grid juxtaposed with the movement and light of the ink gestures expresses the silent, pre-linguistic world from which we have evolved.