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Article

Eleanor Heartney

(b Bangkok, Feb 25, 1953; d Bangkok, Aug 25, 2000).

Thai sculptor and installation artist. Boonma studied at the Poh Chang Arts and Crafts School, Bangkok (1971–3) and went on to study painting at Silpakorn University, Bangkok (1974–8). He became a Buddhist monk in 1986 and his work explores a distinctively Buddhist art language. His early work dealt with environmental issues that came out of his concerns about the effects of industrialization on rural Thailand. Increasingly his work became involved with issues of illness and death as his own health faltered. He subtly melded natural forms, Buddhist architecture and ritual objects with a minimalist sense of structure inspired by his study of Western art. He fashioned sculptural objects based on Buddhist alms bowls, ‘painted’ with healing herbs and created walls and enclosures from stacks of hundreds of ceramic temple bells.

From 1991 Boonma’s wife struggled with breast cancer, until she succumbed in 1994. During this period the pair turned to both Western and Eastern tools to battle her disease, alternating chemotherapy with visits to shrines and offerings to propitious spirits. In ...

Article

(Mark David)

(b London, Aug 30, 1950).

English sculptor and draughtsman. He studied archaeology, anthropology and art history at Trinity College, Cambridge (1968–71) and Buddhist meditation in India and Sri Lanka (1971–4), experiences that profoundly inform his work. Influenced by the ideals of Indian sculpture as much as by those of modernism, his sculptures use the human form to explore man’s existence in and relation to the world. He is primarily known for the lead figures cast from his own body. Free of individualizing surface detail, with welding lines emphatically exposed, these remain physical casings rather than imitative representations of the universal human form. His belief that the spiritual and physical selves are inseparable is reflected in works such as Land, Sea and Air II (1982). Three figures, crouching, kneeling and standing, were placed on the seashore, embodying the process of Buddhist spiritual awareness. The work also referred to the earthly condition of the body and man’s relationship with his surroundings. These concerns are further reflected in Gormley’s full use of installation space, with sculptures suspended from ceiling and walls. Many works were made specifically for natural environments, most controversially ...

Article

Joan Kee

(b Taichung, Feb 16, 1964).

Taiwanese conceptual artist, active also in the USA. Lee spent his childhood in Taichung, where he studied Chan Buddhism from the age of eight. At 12, Lee spent time among Taiwanese expatriates in the Dominican Republic, and two years later moved to the USA, where he later studied biology at the University of Washington, Seattle. He transferred, however, to the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, CA, where he focused on architecture and textiles (1993). During this time, Lee made work that originated from personal memories, such as One Hundred Days with Lily (1995), which he started after his grandmother’s death. This work was a long-term endeavour documenting the life cycle of a lily that Lee took with him as he went about his daily activities in San Francisco.

After graduating from Oakland, Lee went on to receive a master’s degree in sculpture from the Yale School of Art. At Yale, Lee expanded upon his interest in interpersonal communication, which resulted in the production of works such as ...

Article

Deborah Nash

[Feng Tzu-K’ai; Feng Tse-kai]

(b Shimenwan, near Changde, Zhejiang Province, Nov 9, 1898; d Shanghai, Sept 15, 1975).

Chinese cartoonist, teacher, translator and writer. He is best known for the lyrical cartoons he created from the 1920s to the 1960s, which explored themes of Buddhist philosophy and the innocence of childhood through humorous observations of daily life. He trained as a teacher at the First Teacher Training College in Hangzhou, where he was taught by Li Shutong, a Buddhist monk who was to prove influential in Feng’s conversion to Buddhism in 1927 and in the development of his artistic career.

In 1921 Feng left Shanghai, where he had founded a teacher training college, and went to study Western art in Japan. However, as he later acknowledged in his book The Art of the Cartoon, he became fascinated by the popular Japanese manga (Chin. manhua; cartoon). On his return to China ten months later he joined the editorial staff of the Kaiming Book Company and began to publish his cartoons in the journal ...