Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Rosemary KimBal: Zen Explored at the Cardiff by the Sea Library

by Patricia Frischer

During the pandemic we are all looking for safe havens. The Cardiff by the Sea Library has two massive doors front and back with a wonderful clean air following in this high-ceilinged refuge of words. Quiet is just another day at a library, but getting an opportunity to breath is now much more appreciated than ever. That is why these Contemporary Zen brush painting by Rosemary KimBal give you a chance to slow down, take one deep breath in front of each one and discover something new about yourself.

That is basically what KimBal does when creating these works so in a way you are becoming one with her. We are lucky to have so many professional artists living in our very own community, so celebrate them and appreciate that they show their work freely in venues like the library.

 Here is selection of comments from the artist Rosemary KimBal about her work in this exhibition.

Beautiful Joy 14.5" x 28" - (this is the middle picture above between Lovers and the Zen Monk)
I find it amazing how many long narrow places there are to hang a painting like this one that would easily brighten up the space with this lovely sentiment. These two words happen to be my painting name. Given to me by my teacher Jean Chua Shen in 1978. I was honored to receive it. I started to study Asian Brush painting on January 10, 1975. I learned how to write Beautiful Joy in the regular script and then eventually write in the grass writing style. Much later, I learned how to paint in the seal script, which was then carved into my seals or chops. I am very proud of the oval seal made out of coral I had carved in Taiwan when we were invited by the Culture Foundation of the Republic of China to exhibit. We opened in Taipei on July 4, 1984, with several ambassadors from different countries in attendance. Thirty of us were taken by Ning and Ling Chi Yeh and their young children Ja Shing and Evan on a three-week tour of the island nation in 1984. Another honor!

My second seal happened the following year in Singapore. I had a large square chop cut out of soapstone with a dragon carved on the top at a marvelous establishment whose history goes back over 1000 years, carving name seals. That five-week trip into Mainland China in 1985 was with a group of sixteen representing the City of San Diego signing the Sister City agreement between Yantai in the Shandong Province of China and San Diego. I was the Artist, along with others representing the City and the State governments, the Zoo, Education, Banking, and Cultural Philanthropy. This Docent Tour is turning into my life in Twelve Paintings. Maybe I could change the name of the show to The Story of My Life in Twelve Paintings.

Gold Zen Circle 28.5" x 24.5"
This painting was created in a painting session during the Vietnamese Lunar New Year's Celebration in 2018. It was a creatively fun time. Mixing Gold and Silver paints on the same brush worked well and produced this Gold Zen Circle with just a touch of silver. 

The Gold Period 17.5" x 14.5"
Every once in a while it works out that a painting can hold its own vertically or horizontally. This is one of those times. I had the painting wired to hang in either orientation, which allows you to have two paintings for the price of one! I painted this in 2020 while Francisco was practicing his cello as we were both sequestered during the beginning of the pandemic. This abstract pleases me so much because I love Toko Shinoda's abstractions. She says, “a camera can capture a likeness of life. Why not paint ideas into abstraction and let your mind float?” Toko represented Zen in Japan when I represented Zen in America in a 1999 show at the Ronin Gallery in NYC. She died this year on March 1st at age 107. I have decided I want to live actively and well to 108 because it is a sacred number. There are 108 stitches on a baseball. Lots of other reasons, look it up!

Seattle Zen 24"x26.5"
In 1993 when Raymond was helping a close friend remodel for nine days in Seattle, I painted in a small alcove in this home where we stayed. It was an unusual time to paint every day for nine days. Seattle Zen was the last painting I made there. It pleases me in its Zenness. It also can be hung in any direction; I chose two. It is the quintessential bamboo stroke made with a wide flat brush. I particularly like the squiggly line that crosses over the main stroke. Yin over Yang . They both have the freshness of a pure stroke.

Zen Monk 18" x 38.5"
A few strokes and voila “an image”. My favorite feeling is to get to the essence of the subject in just a few strokes!

Lovers 34" x 47.5"
This painting was recently juried into the National and International Sumi-e Society of America’s online exhibit. It was previously mounted on another piece of rice paper and is hinge-mounted inside this frame. The preferred way to handle original art, according to purists. My original "Lovers" was an ink painting made into a scroll. It represents a Man and a Woman embracing both wearing kimono. The man's face shows and you see the back of the woman's hair with the flow of the garments in the vertical lines. This painting is an abstraction with a couple of colors on the brush. This means you might see something different, which is wonderful. These 3 paintings together have different ways of writing my name in Asian calligraphy.

Flight of the Pelicans 34.5" x 17.5"
This work started as an idea I had to give life to after a friend told me the story of a group who were spreading the ashes of my mother's best friend below their home on a Point Loma beach. The Pelicans flying overhead in their usual formation uncharacteristically broke their formation and did a double loop above the burial scene. I saw this as a stroke I needed to imitate. Since then, I have painted the double loop stroke for a backsplash behind my friends stove on a beautiful sea green tile. This painting is the original idea.

Knockin' on Heaven's Door, 50" x 42.5"
I painted this character symbolizing heaven or sky for a ballet choreographed by Allyson Green, head of the Dance Department at UCSD to music composed by Tan Dun for Elegy: Snow in June performed at the North Park Theatre in San Diego in December 2006. The calligraphy, was filmed while I painted it in my Dancing Brush studio in Cardiff by the Sea, then it was projected onto a screen and shown at the last part of the ballet, just as if I was painting it on the huge stage in black ink with a very large brush on a red background.  Spectacular!

Catch A Zen Wave, 21" x 25"
A Zen Circle, which is a stroke made in one breath, turned into a magnificent wave. A couple of colors on the brush gave it that watery essence so it became an emblematic painting for this Zen Explored show. Who knows what life it might take on in the future?

This last image is unlike all the others and puts you in another place entirely. But if you had seen it first or in with a whole show of flowers, you would experience in a totally different way. So make sure and take a breath in front of this one as well. I found myself floating in a the air surrounded by flowers, their scent tantalizing me, their colors mesmerizing and their touch a caress. 

Flower Fields 24"x19"
This painting was chosen by Thomas Babeor to be a group show at his La Jolla Gallery several years ago. Accompanying me to my framers, Thomas chose this outrageously expensive kiobe corner lacquer frame. Fortunately, Thomas was fair to his artists and deducted the cost of the frame before the commission split.

Lonnie Burstein Hewitt wrote a wonderful article about this impressive lady’s history in the Encinitas Advocate that I recommend: Catch a ‘Zen Wave’

Rosemary KimBal : Zen Explored
Feb 1 to April 29, 2022
Cardiff by the Sea Library 2081 Newcastle Ave, 92007
Reception March 4th, Friday, 2:00pm-4:00pm
Opening Hours  Monday - Friday 10:00am - 4:00pm

No comments:

Post a Comment