As a mixed-media artist with a background in science and an interest in spirituality, I explore ways with which we respond to and represent our environments and experiences. The Hashtag Mandalas investigate how people define their experiences on the social media site Instagram.
My multilayered collaged paintings cull images sourced from hashtag searches on Instagram and combine them into the formal structure of a Mandala, a symbol representing the universe in Hinduism and Buddhism. My hashtag searches yielded a plethora of responses, with some terms generating as many as 60,000+ images. My normal mode of working spontaneously with washes of paint and collage was slowed by a need to consider image selection, placement, repetition and the overall design of the Mandalas.
Mandalas function not only as representations of the world at large, but as tools for spiritual guidance. As meditation aids, they are points on which to focus attention. My work aims to opens a window into the immediacy and pervasiveness of social media as a form of communication and documentation, whereby religious notions like devotion and purification have taken on new meanings.