The term "viewing stones" is primarily associated with two traditions of stone appreciation: Chinese Gongshi (or scholar's rocks) and Japanese suiseki. Today, viewing-stone associations around the world take inspiration from these traditions and are creating new ways of displaying stones. Petraphiles, whether ancient or contemporary, are often drawn to express their appreciation of favored stones in writing.
The Petraphiles represented in this virtual exhibition are diverse in their expressions of geo-affection. They are, by turns, both scholarly and poetic. In each entry there is a sense of discovery. Thomas Elias finds his Liaoshan Green Stone talking to him about the vicissitudes of life. Kemin Hu's research on a Kun stone led her unexpectedly to the original owner of the stone. Joseph Roussel's Wen stone reveals its elusive character in the play of light falling across its convoluted surface over the course of a day. Go And Catch A Falling Star (Odessa, Texas), Rick Stiles's tiny meteorite fragment, speaks to him of the vast scale of the space/time of our universe. Richard Strassberg finds new meaning in a stone that has been in his possession for decades when he recontextualizes it in an antique Chinese stone basin. In the course of a stream-of-consciousness rant about an ungainly stone in his collection, Richard Turner begins to understand the Chinese standards of stone appreciation: zhu (clumsy), chou (ugly) and guai (grotesque). [End Page 68]
Pierre Jardin is an internationally acclaimed rock-gardener and stoned-thinker based in Long Beach, California. His works of Outside Art include The Garden of Slow Time (2016, Loyola Marymount U. campus) and "Igneous Ligneous Inosculations," installations exhibited at the Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen (2018). As Paul A. Harris, he is Professor of English at Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, and co-editor of SubStance. His recent work includes collaborative readings and a coauthored story with David Mitchell (forthcoming in C21 Literature), and his current projects are "Stone is the New Green" and Viewing Stones: Contemporary Approaches to Display (co-authored with Thomas P. Elias and Richard Turner). He blogs at The Petriverse of Pierre Jardin.
Artist/curator Richard Turner is a Professor Emeritus at Chapman University, where he taught Asian art history and studio art. He lived in Vietnam from 1959–1961. He studied Chinese painting in Taiwan in 1963–1964 and Indian miniature painting in Rajasthan in 1967–1968. He has worked as a public artist for over three decades doing projects in the western United States, ranging from water treatment plants and light rail to memorials and sacred art. He has curated three exhibitions of viewing stones displayed alongside works of fine art. A selection of his studio work, public art and curatorial projects can be viewed on his website, turnerprojects.com.
* The Viewing Stones Exhibition may be accessed at http://substancejournal.sites.lmu.edu/home/supplements/rock-records