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Vered Aviv

Tibetan Pathways: Said Business School

article from the Oxford Times 13th August 2008

By Helen Peacocke

Three very talented artists explore the representations and realities of Tibet as a place, a society and an idea, in Tibetan Pathways, an exhibition of paintings on show at the Said Business School Gallery.

Vered Aviv admits that she has never been to Tibet, but has been painting Tibetan monks for years, using photographs as inspiration. And what inspiration! Her oil painting Rythmical Echo, which hangs just beside the entrance to the gallery is quite amazing. Without journeying to Tibet, she has managed to capture the atmosphere of its mountainous regions, using muted colours to enhance the feeling of isolation, as a lone figure blows a horn against a wild rugged backdrop. She takes this isolation further in Grey Dynamics, which depicts a figure dressed in grey seen against a powerful and dominating grey backdrop. The eight oil paintings Vered displays highlight both the isolation of Tibet and the power of the Tibetan chant.

Catriona Bass has visited Tibet. Her Tibetan journey began more than 23 years ago; indeed, she was one of the first westerners to work there after the Chinese takeover in 1950. By using Tibetan religious painting form (the thangka) to frame her atmospheric photographs, and by superimposing a second, different, image on the traditional silk dust cover, her work seeks to highlight the Buddhist view of reality. Perhaps her Quest for Learning, in mixed media, will prove particularly popular with an Oxford audience who will recognise the backdrop of the Bodleian Library quad, where a Tibetan student reading Foucact is framed against the main gate.

d=3,3,1The Tibetans' non-violent struggle is central to Ugyen Choephell's oils on canvas which include works such as Interdependence (pictured) in which a mother and child fill the canvas. He, too, paints in the Tibetan thangka tradition, an exact art form which he says takes years to learn and a lifetime to master. As his works displayed in this exhibition are superbly executed, perhaps this talented artist has already lived a lifetime.

Tibetan Pathways remains on show until August 30.