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Faultline, Neil Campbell

 

Painting is often difficult to talk about. Especially Contemporary Painting.

According to Neil Campbell (an artist, curator and educator at Emily Carr University), painting has the ability to “deliver you to the artist’s mentality.” He offers mentality in the broadest sense, implying the full human spectrum of mind-body-spirit: rational cognition, intuition, emotions, physical rhythms, affects and experiences not necessarily rooted in the verbal (Monika Szewczyk). The activity of Painting can be interpreted as an investigation in mind-expansion.

Thirteen strategies for enjoying Contemporary Painting.

 

Inglewood, Bronwen Sleigh

 

 

Middle Earth, James KM

 

Spend time with it. The average viewer spends less than 20 seconds experiencing a painting. It probably took the artist longer than 20 seconds to make it. You would be doing yourself a great injustice by dismissing it so quickly. Even if did take the artist only 20 seconds to make, this 20 seconds is the product of a lifetime of practice.

Be an active participant. As a viewer, you are responsible for completing the artwork for yourself. What you see and feel are often very different from what you say. Each painting has the unique ability to deliver you to a space that is beyond verbal language. The artist is merely the mediator and the artwork is the backdrop for discovery! There is a subtle intelligence to painting. The maker had an intimate relationship to it, so in experiencing it, you are experiencing yourself.

Ask questions.

 

Concrete Cabin, Peter Doig

 

List of possible questions:

How do I feel when I stand in front of it?

 

Landscape, Eric Freeman

 

Where does it take me?

What is the artist’s agenda?

Do I care to figure it out?

Can I sense the underlying structure and logic of the system?

 

Caltex, Holger Kalberg

 

How does the scale interact with my body?

What colours and techniques did the artist use?

Is this an illusionary space or a flat surface?

How does the medium describe the ideas inherent to the work?

Is this image a response or reference to something other than itself?

 

Frontier, Garth Weiser

 

Realize that there are no set meanings in visual art. Many kinds of knowledge cannot be understood by the mind but enter the body in ways we cannot describe with words.

 

Problem Of Nothing, Michael Morris

 

Appreciate that the physical presence of a painting bears weight. For it to exist in public means that it has a presence in the canon of art. Once an artwork leaves the artist’s hands, it takes on a life of its own and now belongs to its audience.

Know that a large part of visual art is Frustration. Anything that is too easily obtained isn’t worth having.

 

Passage, Brian Fisher

 

Appreciate that each visual work has its own language. Even though we are all made of the same evolutionary hardware, we are all different and express in different ways. Some people are good with words, others are good with pictures.

 

Wade Wood (detail 2), Charlie Roberts

 

 

Action Painting, Vik Muniz

 

Realize that having eyes does not imply knowledge about Visual Art. Sight is more than just owning a pair of eyes.Visual art and music are probably the most readily consumable forms of expression out there because everyone feels entitled to their taste and sense of value. The difference between participating in art and being an art consumer is the amount of time invested and intentions behind the effort. Doctors go to medical school to advance the knowledge of the human body. Scientists devote their lives to research in order to advance our definition of science. Artists go to art school to expand the definition of art and in doing so, growing our awareness of what it means to be human. So to recap, to know something about visual language is more than just consuming with your eyes and knowing how to write a cheque.

 

David Shrigley

 

Be aware that words like post-modern and contemporary just imply the acceptance of uncertainty, change, possibility and turning inward. Artists working today are concerned with expanding the definition of how painting functions as a medium and how you can re-interpret and re-inhabit this two-dimensional surface without repeating the past, unless doing so intentionally. If all else fails, make fun of yourself.

 

Layer Painting Red, Jeremy Hof

 

 

Subway, Inka Essenhigh

 

Know that Visual Art is more than a comparison game. If you hear someone saying, ‘oh my child could have done that,’ the fact is that they didn’t. Art requires creativity and creativity lies in the ability to take an idea and execute it. Everyone can criticize in hindsight, but how many actually follow through with their ideas?

 

Nice 'N Easy, After Botticelli, John Currin

 

Enjoy the Silence. Silence creates a space for interpretation and growing one’s awareness. Quiet time for yourself means that you are open to inspiration that is everywhere, all the time, available to anyone with an open, untroubled mind. The collected sum of these moments can be defined as one’s sensibilities. What you see in a work of art are the collected sensibilites of an artist’s lifetime of practice and discipline. Children are often more receptive to inspiration. Perception is reception.

Realize that liking and disliking something are relative terms that don’t mean much. If you do not

 

Corner and Goers, Etienne Zack

 

‘like’ a work of art, could it be that it is simply foreign territory? We tend to be drawn to things that validate our own existence and when something is unfamiliar, it can create an existential crisis.  

 

Egg, Lucio Fontana

 

Be Present. Let go of what you need to do later on and what you’re having for dinner. Your anxiety is not welcome here. Everything is perfect in this moment. Enjoy it!

Psychedelic Lollipop, Gary-Lee Nova

I am surrounded by signifiers but do I really see?

How is information disseminated and communicated? The power of the image often shocks me. I subconsciously emulate familiarity whether it is grasping for (what I thought was) my favourite colour but is really a product of clever marketing or copying the mannerisms from my favourite television character and altering my behaviour. Why can’t I be accepted for what I am and not what I should be (according to somebody else?) Then again, I usually have to remind myself that the key to easing my discontent is in seeking my own acceptance of self and no one else’s.

Am I more than a ghost in a machine?

Can I not distinguish truth from illusion?

Many of us have eyes and yet we do not see. If we have ears, do we hear music or is it merely noise?

Perhaps it is less about what one ‘says’ per se and more about the nature of the medium used to express it.

Language is a very powerful tool for communication. We are each versed in a variety of languages, often switching back and forth amongst many on a daily basis to communicate various kind of information. Text, image, light, sound, touch, etc, each hold their own unique language set that you and I may or may not speak. For every purpose, there is a different language set. Have you ever noticed the way you transform and adapt your language when speaking to your parents versus clients, colleagues or lovers? How do we engage with other people, places and ideas through language?

We seek the company of others.  Yet is it mainly for enjoyment or for validation? If we are constantly speaking, are we really communicating? Or are we merely seeking company so that we may feel validated by the reflection of ourselves through another? Are we gathering information to share or merely waiting in desperation to offer our opinions when no one was asking for them? Where is the silence? To remain open means quiet presence – a kind of tuning fork capable of delving into the subtleties that lurk beneath the surface.

Maybe you are not stupid or a bad listener but that I am bad talker or maybe we’re not speaking the same language despite the supposed ‘english’ label. Or perhaps something in you is part of me but I can’t admit it.

We are all lost and We are all found, as long as we are here together.

How am I not myself?

I am not myself when I let this moment slip away without being here. Being now. Or now.

Where am I?

Elsewhere.

Elsewhere upstairs where reality fades and a new language divorces me from myself.

I am not myself when I am elsewhere.

Away from this moment. Away from my breath and my body and living in my mind. I have ceased to be me, when the me I thought I knew has taken a trip far far away. The me I become is a construct of mind, speaking in a language I don’t recognize. Do I want to live here where the dinner conversation is fractured at best?

A moment, waiting to be enjoyed and missed because of my troubled mind. The yearning for something that is not and the rejection of what is. I know little. What I do know is true. Truth reveals itself to me when I don’t need it. Fleeting moments of awareness and action spring forward and open me to the inspiration that is everywhere, all the time. I am not open to it when my distractions live with me.

Nature is mother. When I detach from me and mother becomes other, I am dislocated. When I breathe the sea air and hear its song, that is reality. When the me I thought I was turns on the radio, the me that is here goes upstairs into the unreality of intellect and politics. To live here means the death of now. They murder me and dampen the sound of quiet joy. The me I want sometimes forgets the words to a song that I once knew. But I’m learning it again. The People Doing Very Important Things All the Time tell me that the body serves the mind. But the children tell me that it’s the other way around.

I am you and you are me. I can only know me through you. You and I make three.

We are not alone when we are here. I can only be me when I surrender to this moment that we’ve shared. At times painful, but always fair.

When everything has a home, I am home. When I am aware of this, the moment is gone, waiting to be re-discovered. My limited grasp of perfection slips under my feet like a shadow. Acceptance of me allows myself to simply be.


‘dymaxion car #4’ at ‘bucky fuller & spaceship earth’ exhibition at ivorypress art + books, madrid
© sebastian marjanov

bucky fuller & spaceship earth is the title of a new exhibition looking at the work of buckminster fuller being held at
ivorypress art + books in madrid. the show is running from september 1 to october 30 and is curated by norman foster
and luis fernández-galiano. the exhibition features drawings and models including the recently completed recreation
of the dymaxion car. foster worked with fuller for the last 12 years of his life and explains that fuller  ‘had a profound
influence on my own work and thinking’. the new dymaxion car was commissioned by foster based on fuller’s own
drawings and prototypes. the prototype was built in east sussex by the car restoration company crosthwaite & gardiner.

http://www.ivorypress.com
http://www.fosterandpartners.com


‘bucky fuller & spaceship earth’ exhibition at ivorypress art + books, madrid
© sebastian marjanov


‘wichita house model’ at ‘bucky fuller & spaceship earth’ exhibition at ivorypress art + books, madrid
© sebastian marjanov


‘bucky fuller & spaceship earth’ exhibition at ivorypress art + books, madrid
© sebastian marjanov


dymaxion car #4
©gregory gibbons


dymaxion car #4
©gregory gibbons


dymaxion car #4

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