Influences of Eastern Philosophy on the Paintings and Writings of Gordon Onslow Ford:

Influences of Eastern Philosophy on the Paintings and Writings of Gordon Onslow Ford: on the Occasion of his Centennial Year, with Fariba Bogzaran, PhD, author, artist, and close collaborator with Gordon Onslow Ford

In 1947 Gordon Onslow Ford, a member of the Parisian Surrealist group, moved to the San Francisco Bay Area from Mexico where he had taken refuge during the war. Onslow Ford was a painter, philosopher and author of several books including Painting in the Instant (1964); Creation (1978); Insight (1991) and Once Upon a Time (1999). In 1951 he joined Austrian painter Wolfgang Paaeln and American painter Lee Mullican to create a major art exhibition called Dynaton (the Possible) at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Soon after, he was widely exposed to the Eastern cultures offered in the Pacific West Coast. He met Dr. Haridas Chaudhuri in 1951 and attended his lectures. Onslow Ford studied Hinduism with Dr. Chaudhuri at the Cultural Integration Fellowship (CIF) in San Francisco. Onslow Ford’s incorporation of his learning at CIF is apparent in his work and his realizations of the archetypal marks, Line Circle Dot, which he explored explicitly in his paintings for fifty years. He also studied Buddhism with Alan Watts and took his first Chinese calligraphy with master Hodo Tobase Roshi. This talk focuses on the work of Gordon Onslow Ford and how Eastern Philosophy and calligraphy changed the course of Onslow Ford’s creation and thinking. The lecture demonstrates that this encounter not only impacted the work of one artist but also transformed his perception for the rest of his life.

Fariba Bogzaran, PhD, East-West Psychology, is an artist and scientist who was a collaborator and close associate with Gordon Onslow Ford for thirteen years before his death in 2003. With Onslow Ford, they co-founded the Lucid Art Foundation in 1998 where she is currently the Creative Director. She collaborated with Onslow Ford on his books, Insight (1991) and Once Upon a Time: The World of Line Circle Dot (1999) and has contributed to over twenty exhibition essays in international publications on the works of Gordon Onslow Ford. She is the co-author of Extraordinary Dreams (SUNY Press, 2002);  and Integral Dreaming (SUNY Press, 2012).


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