what the last month has brought to the table (part two)

All right, I am back and realise that this could be an epic serialisation, but let's get back to the recap and reflection.

There were a pair of exhibitions that I wanted to see, but they were closing and I did not have time over the weekends to see the exhibitions.  So I made a point of hustling over to Ueno to see an exhibition by Kumiko Ogi at Storefront after work.  Her work utilises newspaper and unused foreign currency that we all have left from our overseas vacation.


From there, I crossed through Ueno Park onto the other side of Ueno Station and through some small alleyways as the sunset to see Mayumi Okabayashi's exhibition at Minna no Gallery.  She is based in Germany but occasionally exhibits her work in Japan and I had happen to come across her exhibition postcard which piqued my interest and this show also did not disappoint.


You can see more of both their works by clicking on their names which are linked to their websites.

Due to the snowstorm back in January, the Canvas Artist Talks Volume 3 only had half the presenters, including myself, and some very dedicated friends and art lovers.  As a result, we all decided to give it another shot in February and there were four speakers and a very enthusiastic crowd for the Canvas Artist Talk Winter Session.  In addition to myself, Karin Pisarikova and two artists in residents at 3331, Lan Chunghsuan and Jenny Forster made presentations about our work.  It was a great opportunity to learn about what the AIR 3331 artists were up to and other AIR 3331 artists also came to hear the presentations.  

Having reworked my talk to address some of the questions that were raised in January, I was asked some more "hard" questions about my work which again have provided food for thought about my practice.  One of the things that I remember was being asked about how this process of discovery would affect my "unconscious" drawing practice down the line.  This question about how not to influence my process based on the knowledge that I acquire through scientific methodology has followed me since graduate school.  There is really no way to maintain unknowing when you make discoveries.  I think those discoveries can drive the direction of the work into new places, but those new places offer new opportunities for discovery.  In some ways it does mimic scientific discovery since science is based on proving a hypothesis which then serves as the basis for future research.  However, new hypotheses based on previous findings may actually overturn previous work based on new data and especially new technologies and ideas.  I am not actually discovering anything definite and fixed about myself in the process, but rather trying to figure out where I am at a particular moment.  The other thing that came up after my presentation was my complex about control - needing it and trying to let go of it.  This push and pull certainly permeates my studio practice and my personal life.

Later in February, I headed over to Bakurocho to see an exhibition by Miho Tanaka at Jinen Gallery.  I had picked up the exhibition postcard during my last visit to Jinen Gallery and was intrigued by the image on the postcard.  


I asked about the kind of work and it turned out to be drawing when I thought it might be installation.  I walked into the gallery to discover these amazing drawings of ropes, strings, and plants made on wash.  I immediately fell in love with her drawings and proceed to spend a good amount of time leisurely poring over each of the drawings.  The detail and quality of her lines was just so sumptuous.  I ended up walking back and forth between two pieces and in the end, I bought one of her drawings.  The tangle of ropes and strings was a motif that I am particularly drawn to.  I think that also speaks a bit to my love for Chiharu Shiota's work.  There is a feeling of anxiety and claustrophobia that comes with imagining oneself in the midst of all the tangles.  Her drawings also inspire me to push the quality of my own drawings.  You can find some images of her work at her Instagram account here.

From there I headed to Yamaguchi for a long weekend to visit Akiyoshidai International Artist Village to attend the opening for their 2017 - 2018 trans-artists AIR program.  I have made this trip to Yamaguchi at the February whenever my schedule allows.  I always enjoy meeting the artists in resident and seeing how they process their experience of being at AIAV and the surrounding areas in relationship to my own experiences there.  

Upon arriving at Yamaguchi Ube airport, I ended up doing some gallery and museum hopping with an AIAV and Nakanojo Biennale alumni staff member.  We headed to the Nakahara Chuya Memorial Museum in central Yamaguchi to see the group exhibition Yamaguchi Valley Section - Reflections 2018 exhibition.  Here is the flyer of the participating artists.

Yamaguchi Valley Section.jpg

Yoshiyuki Shirakawa's kinetic installation on the grounds of the museum which was triggered by ambient sounds surrounding the museum was one of my favourites.  Other favourites include Kyoto Sawanobori's Poems of Days Past which was a small installation of lights and text tucked in a corner of the museum.  Keijiro Suzuki's Ah, what have you been...which was a series of photo books that were tucked among books in the museum's bookshelves was a hard to find but rewarding discovery because the photo book contained images of of his (?) feet from various locations while in Europe.  Fan Shuru's Line, Record: Ink Landscape Diary was interesting because of the time based process which I also practice.  Shuru's practice feels more meditative than my practice, but I also do find myself occasionally in the meditative state with my Daily Drawings.  Hideo Shimada's layered glass abstract works were a visual treat that made me think back to my work with my Memory Walks Drawing Cells and the possibilities available with that project.

You can see the actual works from this exhibition at the Yamaguchi Valley Section Facebook Page here.

Well this could be a ten part serialisation.  Time for bed.  More tomorrow, I hope.  Still hoping to write more about curation and rejection as I make my way through exhibitions which have inspired me.

what the last month has brought to the table (part one)

Ever since returning from Yamaguchi at the end of February, I have set my sights on gathering my thoughts about what I have seen and what has inspired me to dive deeper.  Unfortunately, time does not slow down and here we are about to hit the middle of March.  Between the last time that I wrote anything substantial, which was February 10th, and now, there are been countless things that I have seen and surprisingly a significant number of things that continue to stick with me over the last month or so.  

There is no way this is all going to get finished in one sitting as I see the clock about to strike midnight.  So rather than go for a clean, complete writing for each entry, I am just going to see where each post goes before my eyelids droop over my eyeballs send me into dream land.  I will pick up where I left off on the next post and I really hope I can get caught up by the end of this week.

Way back in February after my visits to Roppongi and Ebisu, I ended up making one more gallery visit that weekend.  On the recommendation of an artist I met in Nakanojo, I went over to Gallery Holster to see an exhibition of drawings by Irie Nanako.  Unbeknownst to me, I ended up at the gallery just after an artist talk which I found out afterwards.  This explained the crowd of people in the space at 3 pm on a Sunday afternoon.  As I wandered around the gallery space, I understood why I was told about her exhibition.  You can see in some of the photos below.  


I ended up spending a fair bit of time looking at the drawings and thinking about how these were made.  I managed to snag a minute of her time and asked her about her process and she said that each of these drawings are made with a story, thought, or feeling in mind.  We have talked about sitting down some point this spring to talk about our works in more detail.  I can see an interesting contrast in terms of how the two of us approach drawing.  You can see more of her work by clicking here.

On the next day, I headed over to Shiinamachi nearby check out the opening for "After 10 Years" at Erina Matsui's new Atelier.  The exhibition consist five artists whom all graduated around the same time and maintained ties.  Matsui gathered the five artists together to hold an exhibition of the four artists as well as an open studio for her atelier.  Here is an image of her open studio.


One of the artists in the exhibition was Haruna Sato whom also exhibited at the 2017 Nakanojo Biennale.  I have followed her work for many years now.  I remember having moved to Tokyo for a just a couple years and then seeing her gorgeous paintings of babies, especially their skin and have followed her work since then.  She has also been exploring landscape motifs with her paintings which were at the atelier along with one of her skin paintings.


I also liked the paintings of stones and gems by Yuki Nakamura that were also in the exhibition.


Okay, that is it for part one.  I am off to bed.  Back tomorrow!

Before I forget, I do want to cover thoughts about curating and studio space, both of which have been on my mind the last month or so.  So if I forget to do so in part two, remind me!