Ryan Mathern

Tonglen

Sculpture

Ryan Mathern

Atlanta, Georgia

Tonglen, the Buddhist practice of receiving and accepting bad energy and sending out and letting go of one’s good energy is embodied in this Prayer Engine made of steel and fire. Standing 18 feet tall this placid face made of segmented, polished, stainless steel breathes as an amplification of human input. Participants will be able to act on a handle that will operate the heart shaped bellows and exhale through the sculptures mouth.

About the artist: For the past ten years, I have refined my approach to steel sculpture – often adding virgin and reclaimed materials to a tubular substructure and rod framework. Utilizing indelible materials (including stainless steel, aluminum and chrome plate) alongside weather-able materials (such as mild steel or copper) allows for a range of contrast and interplay of textures. By removing metal with a cutting torch, negative space can be lighted from within by electrical or ambient light, or by fire. More recently, I have been employing plastics and resins as the translucent skin of the creatures I’ve built. Whether via the light source or the outer material, giving a piece an inner glow is important to me.

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