Born in Bolivia, the artist Tom Wudl, whose art appears in “Reflections of the Flowerbank World,” emigrated to the United States at the age of 10, already knowing what his life’s vocation would be. After studying at the Chouinard Art Institute, he sought to further cultivate the contemplative, visionary dimension of his artistic practice by studying medieval and early Renaissance painting while traveling in Europe. Over a lengthy artistic career, Wudl has drawn inspiration from this early Christian art world as well as from his own Jewish background to expand and deepen his Buddhist practice and to produce paintings with spiritual depth.
Represented by the L.A. Louver gallery, Wudl’s work has been shown in museums throughout the United States and abroad, including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Sezon Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo, and the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, both in New York.
Mary Fowles is a Canadian writer, journalist, and documentary filmmaker based in Vancouver, BC. She holds a BA in religious studies from McGill University and a graduate degree in journalism from Concordia University, both in Montreal. Her first feature film, Taxi Casablanca, was an intimate portrait of Morocco’s first female taxi driver.
In this issue, Fowles covers women’s narratives once again in “Roused from a Dream,” the creation story of the female lineage document now used in most Soto Zen temples in the West.
Fowles was raised on the rural gulf island Salt Spring, where she met Zen teacher Peter Levitt of the Salt Spring Zen Circle. He was the one who first told her of the efforts of his Zen community to bring the women ancestor document officially to life. She says about the piece, “Religious stories, in particular, shape our understanding of the world on a foundational level, even affecting us in ways that are unconscious. The stories we tell about women (and the stories we bury) affect how we as women see ourselves, and consequently, affect what we can imagine for our lives.”
Luis González Palma
Luis González Palma, whose work is featured on the cover of this issue and in “The Man-Made Obstacle,” is one of Latin America’s most significant contemporary photographers. Born in Guatemala City, he went to school for architecture before teaching himself photography in the mid 1980s. He now lives in Cordoba, Argentina.
Best known for his artistic exploration of the suffering of Guatemala’s indigenous Mayan people, Palma says of his work that he is “trying to show that the concepts of solitude, pain, and marginality are not merely problems of the present or past, but are the conditions of our existence.”
His photographs have been displayed throughout the world, including at The Art Institute of Chicago in the United States, La Maison European de la Photographie in France, and the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico. He has published three monographs, most recently Poems of Sorrow (Arena Editions).
Photograph by (top to bottom): courtesy Monica Leal Cueva; Stasia Garraway; Luis González Palma.