Shimmering Zen invites viewers into a world of wonder. Each of the works offers us a fresh opportunity to explore a unique, optically complex and thoroughly transfixing visual sensation. Stanford’s mandalas reach back in time, putting us in touch with the a pre-modern era when people would gaze transfixed into still and sacred pools of water or polished gemstones as a means to achieve an enhanced state of consciousness. Today, we find optical enhancements like these just as engrossing as they must have been for earlier generations. In gazing deeply and becoming visually saturated by the seemingly magical spaces, we can lose site of the actual visual field we are contemplating; in the process, we discover new insights and new wonders about ourselves and the world in which we live.
Jim Stanford’s visual compositions, too, are filled with wonder and surprise. They embody the endless struggle to incorporate infinite variables into our own lives as we seek to make sense of our own existence and the world around us. What we find in Stanford’s imagery, however, is not tangible. His photomontages are abstract, in the sense that no familiar subject is evident and no representational narrative is present in his compositions. Working on the two-dimensional plain, the artist has not attempted to represent our light and shadow; nor has he created an inaccessible syntax or secret vocabulary. Instead, he has boldly confronted the difficulties we face when we try to comprehend phenomena that remains stubbornly inexplicable. - Jeffrey H. Rosen, Ph.D., Vice President for Accreditation Relations and Director, Open Pathway. Higher Learning Commission
Shimmering Zen is a unique approach to the mandala created by the collision of digital photography as an art form and the glitz and glitter of vintage Las Vegas signage. The production quality of the book really stands out above the competition. This collection consists of over 150 pieces of Stanford’s art selected from a body of work which extends over the past 15 years.
A premier collection, the likes of which have never been seen before, Stanford’s work in Shimmering Zen reflects a new direction. In comparison to other books about mandalas, Shimmering Zen breaks new ground by incorporating the new medium of digital photography and high quality production values into a genre previously not seen before.
Shimmering Zen includes essays by the artist, the curator Elizabeth Herridge and a foreword by Jeff Rosen. The launch of the book is supported by an exhibition of Stanford's visually stunning and intricately constructed modern mandala series, entitled Indra's Jewels.
The book format is 300 x 300 mm, hardback, 264 pages, limited edition, printed in Verona, Italy using high quality stock with specially formulated inks. The resolution of artwork is over 600 dpi and rivals actual fine art prints in both sharpness and saturation. Each page of art is varnished, published by Ianthe Press-London, and distributed through Smallworks Press.
An exquisite review of Shimmering Zen by Evan Pricco, Editor-in-Chief of Juxtopoz Magazine, was published in the Winter 2018 issue. The book may be purchased at Amazon and Smallworks Press.