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Lawrence Fodor

The Kōan Boxes are meditations on color: considerations of color amalgamation, contrast, relationship, and, at times, paradox. They also reflect the elusive nature of memory and time – for each may contain artifacts and objects, accumulated from my daily life, sealed inside. Thus the title “Kōan.” A kōan is a paradoxical statement used as a tool in Zen Buddhism to demonstrate the inadequacies of logical thinking and provoke enlightenment. A kōan is often a question. The Japanese origin of the word is literally “matter for public thought.” The boxes are just that – they are a matter for consideration by the viewer – to which there is no correct answer or response, just as there is no ideal combination of color. The boxes are a ground for the infinite variety, possibility and associations of color. They may elicit contradictions in the way individual viewers relate to color – be it intellectual, emotional, intuitive or cultural. These varied or opposing responses and perceptions are a direct result of our inherent abilities edified, reinforced and refined by environmental learning and conditioning. “Zen teachers and practitioners insist that the meaning of a kōan can only be demonstrated in a live experience.” Thus, the viewer’s response in the moment is critical to recognize the paradox – the kōan.

Lawrence Fodor  2010