Press Release The Word of God: Max Gimblett The Sound of One Hand and Pittsburgh’s Biennial: Gertrude’s/LOT

A rounded geometric shape with a red background, blue dots, and a green streak of paint.

Max Gimblett, On A Clear Day, 2010, from The Word of God: Max Gimblett The Sound of One Hand exhibition

For immediate release

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Word of God: Max Gimblett The Sound of One Hand

Max Gimblett’s work comes out of the Abstract Expressionist tradition of gestural painting with reverence for the process of laying down each splatter, drip, and stroke. Using diverse pigments, resins, and precious metals, Gimblett creates surfaces that are transformed through the energy of his spiritual thought. Both Eastern and Western philosophies about light and enlightenment are drawn together in his symbolic paintings. Gimblettborn and raised in Auckland, New Zealand, studied at the Art Institute of San Francisco, and since the early 1970s, has worked in New York creating paintings with Buddhist and Zen influences. Gimblett works on a variety of shapes including the oval, rectangle, circle, square, and most well known, the quatrefoil. The exhibition includes Gimblett’s quatrefoil paintings as well as his koan books. A koan is a statement or question that can not be fully understood through rational thought alone. Koan study is a unique method of religious practice intended to bring the student to the direct, intuitive realization of the Ultimate Principle or Absolute Mind. A well-known koan example and the inspiration for the exhibition title is, Two hands meet and there is a sound; what is the sound of one hand? Featured in the exhibition are two of Gimblett’s koan books, Sage which includes ink drawings by the artist and koans from the book, The Zen Koan a series of published lectures on koan study by Roshi Isshu Miura. A Book of Broadway Koans is also on view which includes original drawings by Gimblett and poems by John Yau.

The exhibition, curated by Tresa Varner, curator of education and interpretation, and Eric Shiner, director, is on view September 17 through November 27, 2011.

This exhibition is the fourth in The Word of God series, which examines major world religions and their texts through contemporary art. Sacred texts are considered by many to be the direct words of God to man. How this Word is passed down and received is dependent on the people, languages and cultures in which it is presented. This series explores the questions: what is the best version of the Word of God; and does the artistic rendering of it enhance understanding or is some essential truth lost in translation?

The Warhol has, in its seventeen year history, presented difficult or controversial imagery and art in order to spark community dialogue. The dialogues and visitor experiences from such encounters with art and images are powerful and potentially community changing.

Exhibition Related Public Programming

As part of The Word of God, The Warhol is presenting an ongoing series of public dialogues and gallery talks by various scholars, community activists, artists and religious leaders. The goals of these programs are to provide context for the artist’s work and to spark dialogue about the issues raised in each exhibition.


During Max Gimblitt’s exhibition, visitors will be able to take part in meditations led by monks and teachersts from various Buddhist sects. There will be a short discussion after each meditation.

Gallery Meditation and Discussion with the Venerable Shih Ying-Fa from Cloud Water Zendo in Cleveland
Saturday, October 15, 2011
2 p.m.

Gallery Meditation and Discussion with the Venerable Shih Tao-Fa, Resident Instructor and Leader of Mountain Wind Zen Meditation Center
Saturday, November 5, 2011
2 p.m.

Gallery Meditation and Discussions with a dharma teacher from Laughing River Sangha
Saturday, November 12, 2011
2 p.m.

Sumi Ink Workshops with Max Gimblett

Co-presented with Carnegie Museum of Art

Saturdays, October 8, 15, & 22 (3 sessions)
Sundays, October 9, 16, & 23 (3 sessions)
1-3 p.m. each day.
The Andy Warhol Museum Studio on the Underground Level
Tickets $95 – Includes a tour of the exhibition and all art materials (imported paper, ink, brushes) – Limit to 20 participants.

Sumi is an ancient form of Japanese ink painting that developed from the practice of Japanese and Chinese calligraphy and is spiritually rooted in Zen Buddhism. This special workshop begins with a tour of the exhibition. The following Saturday, Gimblett will lead a sumi ink studio session using traditional handmade paper, sumi ink, and Asian brushes. Gimblett is a renowned artist and practicing Rinzai Zen Buddhist whose approach to painting embraces both Eastern and Western philosophies, ancient symbols, and the transformation of materials. The last session includes a tour at the Carnegie Museum of Art of Abstract Expressionist paintings and drawings.

Participants do not need to be artists or have any previous experience with ink painting to fully enjoy this workshop.

Special thanks to the members of the Community Advisory Committee: Reverend Tom Bodie, Unitarian Universalist Church; Wanda Guthrie, spiritual progressives, The Thomas Merton Center; Luqmon Abdus Salaam, Light of the Age Mosque; Von Keairns, Religious Society of Friends; Doug Spencer and Lakia Brown, Allegheny Children’s Initiative; Adil Mansoor, artist, City High Charter School Counselor; Anahita Firouz, cofounder of Pittsburgh Near East Institute and board member; novelist; Robert Maddock, Pittsburgh Interfaith Impact Network; Susan Kendall, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, director, Doctor of Ministry Program; Thomas Sokolowski, independent curator and scholar of contemporary art; Tresa Varner, curator of education, The Warhol; Maritza Mosquera, community liaison, The Warhol; Mary Martin, artist; Melissa Hiller director, American Jewish Museum of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh.

The Word of God Series

The Word of God: Sandow Birk’s American Qur’an

February 26 – May 1, 2011

The Word of God: Helène Aylon, The Liberation of G-d and The Unmentionable

May 8 – June 26, 2011

The Word of God(ess): Chitra Ganesh

July 9 – September 4, 2011

The Word of God: Max Gimblett The Sound of One Hand

September 17 – November 27, 2011

The Word of God: Jeffrey Vallance

December 11, 2011 – February 5, 2012

Pittsburgh Biennial – Gertrude’s/LOT

Once home to such cultural luminaries as Mary Cassatt, Willa Cather, Martha Graham, and Gertrude Stein, today’s Pittsburgh continues to produce and/or play home to some of the most talented women artists in this nation. The Warhol has assembled an exhibition dedicated to these artists whose work aims at transgressing boundaries and engendering change in a nod to Stein and her life’s work. Artists included in the show either currently live or work in Pittsburgh, or have spent a period of many years here. Works included span all media and aim to challenge and provoke the status quo. The 22 artists included in the exhibition are Elise Adibi, Lilith Bailey-Kroll, Kim Beck, Patricia Bellan-Gillen, Dara Birnbaum, Cara Erskine, T. Foley, LeToya Ruby Grazier, Jill Freedman, Amisha Gadani, Vanessa Louise German, Deborah Kass, Eileen Lewis, Jill Miller, Ayanah Moor, Dulce Pinzón, Madelyn Roehrig, Diane Samuels, Karen Seapker, Carrie Schneider, Renee Stout, Alisha B. Wormsley. The exhibition, curated by Eric Shiner, director of The Warhol, is on view through January 8, 2012.

Generous Support for the Pittsburgh Biennial is provided by Juliet Lea Hillman Simonds Foundation, Hillman Foundation, and Kreider Printing.

The Pittsburgh Biennial collaborators are Pittsburgh Filmmakers, Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, Carnegie Museum of Art, Miller Gallery at Carnegie Mellon University, and The Andy Warhol Museum.

Opening Celebration – The Word of God: Max Gimblett The Sound of One Hand and Pittsburgh Biennial: Gertrude’s /LOT
Saturday, September 17, 2011
2 p.m. Max Gimblett Talk

3 pm Reception – coffee, tea, lite bites, cash wine bar, special performances by Biennial artists T.Foley, Amisha Gadani, Vanessa German, and Jill Miller’s The Milk Truck
Join us as we celebrate the opening of our fourth exhibition in The Word of God series, The Word of God: Max Gimblett Sound of One Hand and Pittsburgh Biennial: Gertrude’s/LOT.

Free with Museum admission

The Warhol receives state arts funding support through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency; and The Heinz Endowments. Further support is provided by the Allegheny Regional Asset District.

The Andy Warhol Museum

Located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the place of Andy Warhol’s birth, The Andy Warhol Museum holds the largest collection of Warhol’s artworks and archival materials and is one of the most comprehensive single-artist museums in the world. The Warhol is one of the four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh.

Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh

Established in 1895 by Andrew Carnegie, Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh is a collection of four distinctive museums: Carnegie Museum of Art, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Carnegie Science Center, and The Andy Warhol Museum. The museums reach more than 1.4 million people a year through exhibitions, educational programs, outreach activities, and special events.