Alix Ankele
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Don't Know Mind

Cross of the Moment    2009
New Paintings by Alix Ankele

We would rather be ruined than changed,
We would rather die in our dread
Than climb the cross of the moment
And let our illusions die.
-- W.H. Auden, "The Age of Anxiety"

Key to my current work is the process of working from a completely open mind. Zen masters have called this state "don't know mind" which does not refer to befuddlement, but to the openness that allows access to our essential nature -- our innate wisdom and compassion, our basic goodness.

"Don't know mind" is a spacious, receptive, flexible state of mind, free of rules, judgements, and preconceptions -- as opposed to the closed and uptight state of our "know it all mind" with its fond opinions and many notions of how things should or ought to be.

Free of a defined goal and the need to "get it right", my intuitive aesthetic sense is given full play to improvise with the changing conditions of the moment where the placement of one color suggests a response and a chance slip of the hand might open up a whole new direction.

It is when I can embrace the uncertainty of the moment that my energy and the energy of the painting begin to flow towards a natural resolution. Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche used the term "authentic presence" to describe this experience of being wholly open and attentive to the energy of "nowness". It is the reality of this experience that I hope to express in my work.