About

SPACE

Sadhna

My art practice is a disciplined spiritual journey, or “Sadhna,” aimed at achieving visionary experiences, beauty, bliss, and revelation. I use the mind and body as a laboratory for transformation, employing energies of the body, breathing techniques, mantra, mudra, and meditation to awaken cosmic energy within. Drawing on ancient Indian knowledge and texts, my practice aligns with the yoga sutras of Patañjali and the philosophies of Samkhya and the science of Tantra. I was initiated in to Tantra twenty-five years ago in India, and have been since diligently practicing.

Samkhya, Yoga, Tantra & Rasa

Samkhya is the metaphysical view of reality and Yoga can be understood as the direct verification of reality through experiential means. Yoga and Tantra are not just sister sciences, all yoga has Tantra at its basis and all Tantra has yoga at its basis as a practice. Samkhya philosophy deals with two important principles Purusha –absolute reality (consciousness, spirit) and Prakriti phenomenal reality (nature, matter, including mind and emotions).[1] The job is to understand how to separate them; Purusha – the internal spirit from Prakriti – the world of forms.

Tantra sees the body as a laboratory, where the transformative takes place. It’s a sophisticated science of self-realization, which parallels break throughs in neuroscience today. Tantra is not ritualistic; or set in transient pleasures and excitement, its not erotic, sexual or otherwise, it’s volatile – as it deals with energy and expansion. It has an elaborate of Yantra making; however, all and any elaborate rituals of offering are without exception outer replicas of what takes place inside. The inward progression through the Yantra is reflective of abstract truths, feminine energy and masculine energy. In practice the Yantra helps to stimulate the dormant centres of the brain and expand consciousness. The human body itself is considered the most refined Yantra and is a way to the energy sources of the cosmic world, joining internal and external in unity. ‘If you build a house it has a practical aspect in it. The same with the body, the goal is to self realize and then live in that delight and rapture that is brought in every experience. In Sanskrit this is called Rasa, and it’s for the sake of enjoying.’[2] Indian appreciation of art is intricately linked to the meaning of bliss and purpose of life known as Rasa. Rasa is the feeling of bliss when forgetting oneself, while identifying completely with the subject.

Natural Symbolism

Over many years of practice I’ve applied the Universal Cosmic Laws to my work, by way of my meditative practices in breathing techniques, gentle exercise, mantra and mudra. The twelve laws such as rhythm, vibration, cause and effect, action and so on, impart moral, ethical and physical connections and are the glue that helps one to disentangle unnecessary conflict and conditioning in the mind and body and ascend to calmer, more tranquil waters. It’s a process of change in the brain where the synapses reconnect to better vibrations, rhythms, and actions that all lead to new and ever better pathways forming. This is my sadhna in practice – endeavoring to get closer to absolute consciousness and self-realization. It’s the separation of the Purusha – the internal spirit from Prakriti – the world of forms in practice, in motion. “The Vedic poets realised that the beauty of a work of art was not objective or inherent in form, material or technique, but belonged to the spirit. Self-fulfilment of a person’s life could be achieved and liberated from limited consciousness and time, space-bound existence.”[3] In art the experience of rhythm is very central in this regard but in practice one first has to disentangle the mind balance the body and gently ascend.

At this level in my practice there is an overwhelming sense of knowing what ‘letting go’ means. I’m working from heightened awareness, intuition, insight and right-action. A higher frequency comes into play and sight no longer defines shape, instead insight does. This is the fervent ground for the creation of natural symbolism, which I understand in my work as ‘participating in the essential structures of the universe.’

Alice Boner, a Swiss artist, art historian and Indologist, who along with Sadasiva Rath Sarma, Bettina Baumer translated from Sanskrit to English the Vāstusūtra upanisad. Broadly speaking the Upanishads teaches the philosophy of absolute unity.[4] In Boner’s introduction, I became aware of the term ‘natural symbolism’ and how it applies to my work and how “…When art forms take their being from fundamental cosmic principles, and participate in the essential structure of the universe and contain a natural symbolism…”[5] It is through my practices in meditation; gentle exercise, breathing techniques, mantra and mudra which spark the said fundamental cosmic principles – the universal laws igniting natural symbolism in my artwork.

Grasping a deeper meaning

Observing the internal mechanism is an ancient practice that dates back over 5000 years, it’s a hugely life affirming gift for all of humanity, and resonates in artists work today as it did thousands of years ago. The Paris Review published an article stating, “…it’s possible to grasp a deeper meaning and understanding of the collision of ancient and modern in the work by Daniel Buren, Agnes Martin and little known Tantric abstract paintings from Rajasthan.” The article talks of how the abstract Tantric works ”…resonate uncannily with lineages of twentieth-century art from the Bauhaus and Russian Constructivism to Minimalism… Rarely have the ancient and the modern come together so fluidly.” The article goes on to state, …”that our notion of progress past, present, and future is not correct. And it could also mean that abstract art is not necessarily a Western, nineteenth-century art-historical development. It dates back to Native American, Tibetan, and Australian Aboriginal sand painting, for sure.”[6]

Revelation

An astonishing revelation occurred on seeing this article. I had never before seen the images below of the abstract Tantric paintings from Rajasthan. The article states that these images are not made as artworks but are used for personal meditation and would not have been published or seen before. My understanding of Tantra is that any form, shape that is made in the external world is a reflection of the internal one. I wanted to share the likeness of a few of the images from this article with that of some of the many images I made in photography dating back to as early 2000. I have never connected these shapes before now and realise after reading about ‘natural symbolism’ that such shapes emerge through such a practice of a sadhna. The rhythms built up in the body and mind through a sadhna make such shapes and from my experience become a natural occurrence.   

Images 1. One of my shapes I made in early 2000 in New York City.

Image 2. Abstract tantric shape, Artist unknown, Rajasthan, 2001.

Image 3. One of my shapes I made.

Image 4. Abstract tantric shape, Artist unknown, Rajasthan, 1999.

Image 5. One of my stills from a video work.

In brief

• To expand notions of how we see and think our world and ourselves into existence, constantly examining, questioning and engaging with a quality of awareness that generates new knowledge and opens up upon new territories.

• To be aware of what you see and hear, not through analysing but through seeing and hearing not from the self as conditioned thought but as a self-aware, observing, insightful individual.

• To address the in balance of what we call ‘progress’ associated with technological developments shifting emphasis on the importance of internal growth over the external.

Bio

Greg was born in the UK, now Melbourne based. Greg studied Film & Photography at the Newport School of Art, Wales, UK and his Masters of Fine Art at the Victorian College of Art, Melbourne. Greg decided to cease studies of his PhD at RMIT, finding the subject of awareness and no-thought very hard to marry up to its fullest in an academic arena, deciding instead that a full time commitment to art making serves his subject matter and practice more appropriately. Greg has been awarded an ‘Honourable Mention’ at the Deep Focus Film Festival, an ‘Outstanding Achievement Awardin the Luis Bunuel Memorial Awards at the 25th L’Age d’Or International Art-house Film Festival, ‘The Most Innovative use of Digital work’ at the Centre for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne and awarded a place on the LUMEN long list held at the V&A, Victorian & Albert Museum, London. Greg shows locally and internationally and is represented by Otomys gallery in Melbourne and Saint Cloche gallery in Sydney where a solo show of Greg’s current sculpture will be on display during September 2024.


[1] Samkhya, acmuller.net, Resources for East Asian Language and Thought, Musashino University, Lusthaus, Dan 2018

[2] Tantra & The Light Body, Igor Kufayev, Tepoztlán, Mexico, March 2019.

[3] Art Helps Gain Inner Vision, The Speaking Tree, The Times of India, New Delhi, P N Mago, 2001

[4] Tantra Sadhna, The Devine Life Society, Sri Swami Krishnananda

[5] Vāstusūtra upanisad: the essence of form in sacred art, Boner, Alice; Śarmā, Sadāśiva Rath; Bäumer, Bettina, Pg. 6-7, 1982, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass

[6] “An Egoless Practice”: Tantric Art, The Paris Review, Lauren O’Neill-Butler, April 3, 2012

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Shows & Festivals

  • ‘OASIS’, Saint Cloche Gallery, Sydney, June 2024
  • ‘A Felt Sense of Being’, Otomys Gallery, Melbourne (2023)
  • ‘About Us’, Saint Cloche Gallery, Paddington, Sydney (2023)
  • FESTIVAL 6 ECRÃ, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (2022)
  • PUNTO Y RAYA FESTIVAL, Austria (2021)
  • Blickle Kino im Belvedere 21, Künstlerhaus, Österreichisches FilmMus, & MuseumsQuartier. Austria
  • Festival ECRÃ, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, (2021)
  • Deep Focus Film Festival, Brooklyn, NY, USA, (2021)
  • Citric Signals Video Network, Orlando, USA (2021)
  • SPHERE World Cinema, Kolkata, India (2021)
  • 25th L’Age d’Or International Art-house Film Festival, West Bengal, India (2021)
  • Ars Electronica Linz GmbH,.ART Global Gallery (2020)
  • BOGOTA Experimental Film Festival, Bogota, Colombia (2020)
  • Festival ECRA, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (2020)
  • CICA Museum, Korea (2019)
  • IVAHMInternational Video Art House Museum, Madrid (2019)
  • WUNDERGROUND Film Festival, Verbeke Foundation, Kemzeke, Belgium (2018)
  • CROSSROADS: the photon doesn’t give a damn, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2017)
  • LUMEN Prize -The Global award for Digital Art, Victoria & Albert Museum, London (2017)
  • VIVID, ARTBAR series, MCA, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (2017)
  • VIDEOMEDEJA, Museum of Contemporary Art, Vojvodina, Novi Sad, Serbia (2017)
  • CHANNELS Australian Video Art Festival, Conditional Surplus, Federation Square (2017)
  • TESTING GROUNDS, An Act of Showing, Melbourne (2017)
  • MUFF12, Montréal Underground Film Festival (2017)
  • BLINDSIDE, PLAY, Melbourne (2017)
  • IVAHM, International Video Art House Museum, Madrid (2017)
  • DEFY Film Festival, Nashville, Tennessee, USA (2017)
  • ONION CITY EXPERIEMNTAL FILM FESTIVAL, Chicago (2016)
  • SEAFF, Stockholm Experimental & Animation Film Festival (2016)
  • FACT, ARTPLAYER.TV, Foundation for Art & Creative Technology UK, (2016)
  • CCP, Centre for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne (2016)
  • MELBOURNE FRINGE FESTIVAL, Melbourne (2016)
  • LEEF, London Experimental Film Festival (2016)
  • CINESONIKA 5 Festival, Indiana USA, (2016)
  • MUFF11, Montréal Underground Film Festival (2016)
  • DEFY Film Festival, Nashville, Tennessee, USA (2016)
  • ART STAGE SINGAPORE, Singapore (2016)
  • SCREENSPACE, Melbourne (2015)
  • IKONO ON-AIR FESTIVAL, Berlin (2014)
  • MELBOURNE NOW, National Gallery of Victoria, Channels Festival and Speakeasy Cinema selection for Rooftop Cinema, Melbourne (2014)

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