The Harmony of Circles

Homage to Miró, Zen Dot, acrylic on canvas, 84" x 60", 2001 

Homage to Miró, Zen Dot, acrylic on canvas, 84" x 60", 2001 

Geometry plays a profound role in art, and nowhere is this more evident in my work than in my use of circles. They carry a spiritual connotation, representing unity, infinity, and time. With no beginning or end, a circle can be viewed as a static whole or an endlessly moving cycle. Many celestial phenomena are circular - the sun, the earth, the moon, the orbits of the planets, the universe, and countless cultures and religions have viewed the circle as a significant symbol. In Chinese symbology for instance, the circle represents the shape of heaven, juxtaposed with the square symbol of earth to represent the connection between our spiritual and physical natures. The famous yin yang symbol meanwhile utilizes the circle as a frame to represent balance in conflict. 

Impressions, Dreamland, acrylic on canvas, 48" x 60", 2013 

Impressions, Dreamland, acrylic on canvas, 48" x 60", 2013 

In my own work, the circle prominently appears in each series. They arise in the abundant dotting of Dreamland, the abstract orbs of Gross National Happiness, the yantras of Worlds Collide, the chakras of Zen Dot Energy, and the various mandalas of Unseen Universes. My use of circles has for the most part been unconscious, and it wasn’t until I recently looked back and reflected that I saw the importance of this visual and thematic rapport. 


Large mandalas, Unseen Universes 

Redemption, Worlds Collide, acrylic on canvas, 72" x 120", 2009

Redemption, Worlds Collide, acrylic on canvas, 72" x 120", 2009

Amidst the animated dotting of Zen Dot Energy, chakras become a common motif, appearing in many of the paintings including Black White Red, Equilibrium, and One of Many. The word “chakra” is a Sanskrit word that means “wheel”, as these centers of energy rotate and thrive within our spiritual selves. The following series Unseen Universes was perhaps my most deliberate use of circles as I utilized circular canvases that were then attached to the background paintings, allowing the circle to stand out and take on a life of its own. This method was utilized in paintings such as Ode to Georgia O’Keeffe, Mandala in Nature, Cosmic Quilt, and Ways To Go. The abstract colorful circles of GNH and the electric dotting of Dreamland meanwhile convey a spiritual vibrance in the artwork. They are not the focus of the work but rather controlling elements of the background, adding further structure to each piece. 

Mandalas from Cosmic Quilt, Unseen Universes 

For me, the circle is highly spiritual. There is something so significant about how a shape so simple can carry so many different connotations. In painting, the use of such a common symbol can at times be subconscious - the power of the repetition is something that grows over time and across many visual landscapes within series. I see the symbol of the circle as a resonating tone that moves in waves through my works, generating an intrinsic harmony within the saturated and complex visual realm. It is perhaps my quiet guide, my familiar path, moving forever in step with nature's sacred cycle of life. You can certainly expect to continue seeing this sacred symbol featured in my work in the future. 

Where to Find Open Calls for Art

The following is a brief list of the online resources I browse for open calls for art. These websites include listings for solo and group show exhibitions, artist residencies, art festivals, internships, and many other opportunities. Oftentimes there will be overlaps with the same listing appearing on multiple sites. In general, persistence is key. Always keep checking to see what new opportunities are available and utilize all that that the internet has to offer. 

The following is a list of the websites in the order that I regularly visit them: 

Art Deadline -
Art Deadline is the standard go-to for open calls for art. Their website states that they “receive and publish more opportunities and event listings per day than any other service.” Once a subscription service, now you can freely browse its list of competitions, portfolio submissions, festivals, residencies, and more. The site began implementing an improved interface with colored labels and an easier way to filter out unwanted listings, along with a geographical search. Although there is no log-in required, there is an option for a premium subscription with various features including networking and promotional opportunities. 

NYFA - New York Foundation for the Arts -
Another organization that consistently has a varied list of great opportunities is the New York Foundation for the Arts. There is no log-in required to browse the listings, and there are new updates every weekday. Obviously there is a focus on New York, but there are national and international calls posted sporadically as well. Listings can also be sorted by date, location, and type. 

CaFÉ -
CaFÉ, short for Call for Entry, is another free database with a large selection of opportunities to send your art. The website is run by the Western States Arts Federation (WESTAF), so you can expect a lot of listings for galleries and museums in California, Arizona, and so on. There is also an abundance of calls for public art. 

A benefit about CaFÉ is that it makes submitting to an open call a breeze once you have your profile and portfolio set up. You can upload up to 100 images that you then label and select for exhibition. Up to 6 audio and video files can be uploaded as well. All submittal fees are also taken care of within the website. 

Entrythingy -
Entrythingy is not the best website for searching for open calls. Although it does have a database that you can scroll through, the interface is a bit crowded with text, and the types of calls are only broken down into two categories - “Festivals and Fairs” and “Museums, Galleries, Art Centers, and Clubs.” 
Oftentimes you will end up on this website though as a link from other places like NYFA or Art Deadline, as institutions will us it as the platform for submission. It has a similar system to CaFÉ where you can upload artworks for later use, and entry fees are built into the application process. 

Honorable Mentions: The Art List, The Art Guide