This watercolor is from a short series Nickel produced after attending a Zen master’s class on Chuang Tzu, the great Chinese Taoist writer/poet. Nickel found the poems “a brilliant study of the controlling mind and how to avoid such control through examples from life.” The series, inspired by the Zen concept of “Wu Wei” or “nothing doing,” explores a coexistence of controlled and uncontrolled elements — an attempt to “loosen up.”

Untitled (Nothing Doing Series)

1989
Brooklyn, New York
Watercolor and Graphite on paper
H: 11 in. x W: 16 in.

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