emptiness and more emptiness

Form is emptiness; emptiness is also form.
– Heart Sutra


I have long been interested in the interplay between form and emptiness, object and space. It began as an academic exercise, when I worked with the ’empty’ or blank portions of the canvas with as much intensity as the painterly passages. As I plunged deeper into the object/space dichotomy, an intriguing tension emerged. If an object is defined by its surrounding space, and if that space is in turn shaped by the object, then through their interplay there arises something distinct, born of the pushing and pulling between boundaries.

Such is the case with the empty/full nature of reality. We are certain of our existence because we have form, and our form is in turn defined by the surrounding empty space. However, closer inspection reveals that at the center of matter there is emptiness and more emptiness. Our very bodies have little more substance than the air we breathe. In the synthesis of form and emptiness we emerge as tenuous islands of consciousness.


Meg Hitchcock: Heart Sutra cut from Bible

Heart Sutra from Bible 1
showing detail at bottom


In my series Mantras & Meditations, I examine the nature of devotion and the universal need for transcendence. I select passages from various holy books that abstractly relate to one another, cutting the letters from one passage to form the text of another. I paste a continuous line of text to form the words and sentences in a run-on manner, without spaces or punctuation. In so doing, I weave a rich tapestry of spiritual traditions, sometimes ineffably beautiful in their heartfelt devotion, at other times terrifying in the their call to violence. While the authors’ devotion is undeniable, obsession is often inferred, with recurrent hints at fanaticism. The viewer is left to determine if the author of the sacred texts is a saint, zealot, or madman. As I painstakingly deconstruct and rearrange the texts, I am forced to confront my own spiritual predisposition, which is best characterized as obsessive.


Meg Hitchcock: Everything is Holy

Everything is Holy


What is the relationship between devotion to God and the compulsive drive toward transcending one’s present experience? How does this escapism play into the obsessive hunger for religious experience? When does devotion cross over into fanaticism? In spite of the universal appeal to love thy neighbor and eschew the trappings of worldly gain, intolerance and violence hover at the fringes of all spiritual traditions. My texts are an examination of the tension that arises when conflicting spiritual traditions collide.

– Meg Hitchcock

Source: Meg Hitchcock’s website


Images and text © copyright Meg Hitchcock

Update – from thisiscolossal.com:

New Text Drawings Formed by Letters From Religious Texts by Meg Hitchcock


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