The word chaitya is an Eastern Indian word meaning “place of worship”. However, unlike the Western civilization, in Eastern culture the act of worship does not have to occur inside a building. It can take place in many different locations. For example, at an altar, at a stupa (Buddhist Shrine) or even underneath a tree. For me, the power that fashions the complex workings of the human heart are also echoed in the magnificent simplicity of a plant seed.
These drawings evolved from a series of 20 works executed between the years 1988-1992 (Serie de Renacimiento). Based on the anatomical notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci, these works depicted human skeletons and viscera alongside images taken from architecture, zoology and botany. My Chaitya Drawings deal with many of the same concerns as this earlier work-for instance the body as architecture or as a holy vessel.
However, these Chaitya Drawings also represent another stage in my exploration of the visual and metaphysical relationship between seemingly unrelated objects. For example, shape – a body of a horseshoe crab and an Islamic arch from the Alhambra; function – a section of a Doric column and a vertebrae of a tortoise; structure – chambers of a grouse’s skull and the balustrade of a Mexican pyramid.
My Chaitya Drawings attempt to evoke the sublime through the juxtaposition of what at first seem to be unrelated images. For example, in the drawing of the Mayan temple and the bird nest, both images also symbolize the primal urge to create something, the purpose of which we may or may not fully comprehend as we create it.
Instincts drive birds to construct nests. Some sort of basic longing impelled the Mayans to throw up towers of limestone through the jungle mantle towards the sky. Are not both actions just variations of the same divine force? Can not a bird’s nest, like a temple, invoke an act of worship because of its beauty?
My continuing fascination with the inner workings of the natural and man-made world has led me to a discovery of the inherently metaphysical aspects of architecture. Buildings, like found objects in nature, have the capacity to evoke wonder, inspiration and sometimes even reverence.