‘Martha & John: a love story of yoga and art’ opens at Canal Street Art Gallery

BELLOWS FALLS — Canal Street Art Gallery (CSAG), 23 Canal St., presents Martha & John: a love story of yoga and art, exhibiting oil paintings of the Vermont landscape by the late Martha Nichols and abstract mathematical designs inspired by the yogic tradition of the yantra painted by John van der Does.

Martha & John opens Oct. 20 and is on view through Dec. 9. There will be an opening reception during 3rd Friday Gallery Night in Historic Downtown Bellows Falls from 5 to 7 p.m.

"Color, light, and more recently, sound are my primary interests," Nichols once wrote. "We are surrounded by ever-changing light, color, and sound as we go about our days in the landscape. I explore the vast variety of colors which I can mix, and their interactions with each new painting.

"The elements of the landscape or sky are used as a foundation for the design of each piece. It evolves from there until I am satisfied that some sense of glowing color has been achieved. My interest in obtaining a glow of color really comes from my meditation experience. Light and color in the landscape ultimately act as metaphors for inner exploration, as I continue to grow through meditation."

The artist relates how he came to know Martha, or "Marty," through a series of chance meetings, chiefly funerals. After the death of her previous husband, van der Does says their relationship "really got started when I sent her a bunch of lilies on Easter. She visited me at the Dexter House on 86th Street, a low-cost transient hotel, and was smitten when she saw me in a tiny room sitting on my bed in the lotus position.

"We got married and took marriage vows with the (1)Self-Realization Fellowship [Greenfield Retreat] in Front Royal, Virginia. Marty studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, and her artwork concerns inner growth and the spiritual realms. She was connected to (2)Paramahansa and the Self-Realization Fellowship."

The gallery hosts a screening of Andrew Eppler's film Mysore Yoga Traditions on Friday, Nov. 3, from 6 to 8 p.m. Following will be a talk by van der Does on Vedic mathematics, a system reconstructed from Sanskrit texts by Sri Bharati Krishna Tirthaji. Attendees then are invited to practice asanas, or yoga postures, in the gallery, led by the artist. Participants are encouraged to bring their own yoga mat. Space is limited.

Eppler's film is a documentary in which the elders, scholars, philosophers, yogis, and spiritual leaders of the community express their views on what yoga is, its original intention, and how they feel about the way it is being taught and practiced around the world.

All CSAG events are free. For wheelchair access, call 802-289-0104 upon arrival.

This The Arts item was submitted to The Commons.

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