Exhibition | Lewis deSoto: Paranirvana (Self-Portrait) | at | Santa Barbara | Art Week

Lewis deSoto: Paranirvana (Self-Portrait)

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Sunday, 17 April 2016 to Sunday, 21 August 2016
Installation view of Lewis deSoto: Paranirvana (Self-Portrait), Santa Barbara Museum of Art, April 17 – July 31, 2016. Courtesy of the artist.

Works by Lewis deSoto are informed by the artist’s longstanding interest in anthropology, history, mythology, and religion. Proficient in a variety of media, DeSoto is recognized for his photography, sculpture, and mixed media installations that incorporate video, sound, and performance. Paranirvana (Self-Portrait) (2015) is the most recent work in a series of oversize, inflatable sculptures based on the figure of the 12th-century Buddha at Gal Vihara in Sri Lanka. Conceived after his father died, figures from this series are in recline, much like the famous Buddha, and painted with features that resemble the artist. This work is just as much a self-portrait as it is a representation of universal life, death, and supreme consciousness. Activated with a low-noise industrial fan, the 26-foot long, 6-foot high sculpture inflates (inhales) when switched on, and deflates (exhales) when switched off at the end of each day, alluding to the spiritual breath, or Prana, in Hindu philosophy. Prevailing among a vast range of counterpoints:  monumental and ephemeral, witty and thought-provoking, Paranirvana (Self-Portrait) rouses reflections upon existence, loss, spirituality, and much more. This work was specially commissioned by SBMA and is presented in the Museum’s historic Ludington Court.

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Santa Barbara Museum of Art
Open Tuesday-Sunday 11 am – 5 pm, Chase Free Thursday Evening 5 – 8 pm

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