Speaking ‘mind-2-mind’

Art exhibit at dental clinic includes Buddhist themes

Posted 7/17/19

As a practicing Buddhist, Odin Oldenburg seeks enlightenment through correct mindfulness, something incorporated into his latest series of digitally derived paintings on display at Uptown Dental as part of the “Mind 2 Mind” exhibit.

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Speaking ‘mind-2-mind’

Art exhibit at dental clinic includes Buddhist themes

Posted

As a practicing Buddhist, Odin Oldenburg seeks enlightenment through correct mindfulness, something incorporated into his latest series of digitally derived paintings on display at Uptown Dental as part of the “Mind 2 Mind” exhibit.

“We have to practice mindfulness and be more loving and compassionate and caring about those around us,” Oldenburg said. “We are not just here for ourselves. We are here for other people as well.”

As individuals practice mindfulness, the circle of love tends to grow around them amongst others, Oldenburg said.

“They start expressing that in their lives too.”

The former digital set designer, who worked for the likes of Disney during his eclectic career, now calls Port Townsend home. He creates digital fine art paintings with his computer, using skills he used to help launch the computer-generated imagery trend of the early 1990s. The display at Uptown Dental Clinic is Oldenburg’s first foray into the local art scene, he said.

Uptown Dental, 642 Harrison St. in Port Townsend, rotates exhibits from various artists, a practice begun by former owner Steven Scharf, DDS, who recently sold the business to Dr. Liza Mathias.

Scharf said there have been more than 90 displays and Mathias has agreed to continue the tradition.

Each art show brings a completely different element to the building and a different feel, said Juanita Maples, who is in charge of choosing the artists for the showings.

The artwork is often available for purchase and the clinic takes no commission, Maples said.

The venue is in high demand with artists, with the next available slot not until 2021, Maples said.

Telling stories through paint

When he paints, Oldenburg wants to tell a story, an element front and center in his new series.

A recurring character in the series is a fictional monk named “Otoni,” who communicates with humpback whales through telepathy.

“What he is doing is having Mind 2 Mind, which is a language without words,” Oldenburg said. “That is what I have used. He is the centerpiece. The show is based on the picture of a whale and Otoni looking back at us.”

The paintings explore a vision Otoni experienced, Oldenburg said.

“The whale was saying because of all the pollution and people hunting the whales, that the community of whales are thinking about where they were coming from, another planet because they felt abused here.”

The whale said the information the species wants to share with humans is not being received anymore, Oldenburg said.

“Although they are all there for us, we are not there for them.”

Another painting is of Otoni as a young man, showing the beginning of his lifelong spiritual journey, Oldenburg said.

Otoni is a stand-in of sorts for Oldenburg himself.

“In my art, what I have learned is it has been a personal journey and a spiritual journey,” he said. “I asked in a meditation what I could do to affect the planet in a loving caring way, and that is really what my art is about, repurposing the things I see whenever I go for a walk in the woods or I am down at the marina.”

Sometimes an object will seem to be seeking Oldenburg’s attention, he said.

“I feel like a boat says, ’Hey look at me.’ That boat is telling me, ‘You’ve got to paint me.’”

Such mental discourse is an example of the usage of mind-to-mind, Oldenburg said.

“I think the more we practice this mind-to-mind, speech without words, the more it affects our lives and makes us realize everything around us is alive and talking to us. But, we aren’t listening.”

Creating with the creator

When Oldenburg paints, he said he is harmony with the creator of the universe.

“I feel I am actually co-creating with my maker, in this particular case, Buddhism. But, it is all the same. You can call it your spirit, or the higher self, or God. I am communicating with that because a lot of the paintings I will come up with an idea, but as I get deeper and deeper into it, I find that little things will say, ‘Add a bird, or add this or that.’”

That introspective spiritual communication meant a sudden change to his Otoni paintings.

“All of a sudden last week, I thought, there is something missing in all the Otonis that I have painted, and that is prayer beads,” Oldenburg said.” As soon as I added the prayer beads, I thought, ‘It is finished.’ If you look at the art, all of a sudden you will see that all of the paintings I have done show Otoni with beads.”

Staying true to his past as a storyteller, the beads have a history of their own, Oldenburg said. They were given to Otoni by his mentor when he was starting out as a monk. Just one more immersive element in the already vibrant paintings.

“You can see from his head he is an old man now,” Oldenburg said.

For more information, call Uptown Dental at 360-385-4700.

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