Self-awareness is the like-minded end goal of both yoga and art making. Julie Weitz’s new series of drawing on photographs, exhibited at The Suburban (through March 31, 2013), aligns the two practices into a sensually stimulating whole. Weitz draws with gouache, graphite, ink, and yellow-colored tape on photographs of yogis performing poses, and sometimes inserts triangle- and square-shaped mirrors, thereby fracturing their bodies into geometric abstractions. Like Leonardo’s Vitruvian Man, the reshaped bodies reach toward an ideal self in line with nature, expressed by the precision and truth of geometric forms.
Change comes slowly through the creative ritual of art making and the labor of yoga, especially if both are performed daily. Discipline in any action brings a focused, even heightened, awareness. Weitz smartly conflates yoga and art, so that each is a metaphor for the other. Yogis speak of living artfully whereby each action is intentional. Clear intentionality is also one of the highest expressions of being a creative person, even if, in the process of making, one is still seeking.
In a video work, Yr Body Is My Geometry, Weitz traces connective lines on a mirror that reflects a yogi in position. Weitz then paints a black diamond shape over his reflected body, masking portions of the face and torso. In yoga, awareness is brought to the intimate hollows of the body, as if there were empty spaces in the chest and abdomen that could be filled with consciousness. For Weitz, too, the interiors of her geometric drawings are important to the whole, for it is the interior that structures an entire shape. Manipulating these shapes like poses allows Weitz, as an artist and a yogi, to delve with confidence into the unknown. Yogis and artists successfully transform themselves, and in turn their (and our) world, with their sense perception. The yogi in Weitz’s pictures who is folded over, looking between his own legs, is symbolically inverted, turned inward, toward himself. To this Weitz adds a perplexing third concept, that of monsters (through her titles) and a bloody beheading, in the photo-collage Downward Decap. Though unexpected and strange, these too signify a desire to fully access the body’s mysterious interior, and to merge the external world with the artist’s insight.