my week in drawing, tracing, coloring.

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shigaraki peops: meaghan gates and yumie shukuya

2 three month residents are finishing up.  they both mounted amazing exhibitions last week.  meaghan gates, an artist from california just finished her undergrad at chico state and came to shigaraki as part of a trip funded by the presigious windgate grant she received last year.  before coming to shigaraki she spent a month at a pottery in seto, japan and after she leaves next week she will go to san bao, china for a month.

yumie shukuya is from the gumna prefecture but lives in tokyo.  she recently graduated from tama university, one of the top tier programs for art in japan, where she studied sculpture.

both artists went to undergrads that nurtured conceptual sculpture  thought they both use the wheel in some areas of their work.  the also both make work that falls beneath the umbrella of biomorphic abstraction.  meaghan uses the wheel, almost exclusively, to creae repeated  shapes that she brings together into complex organic compositions.  Some are particular abstract, others evoke more recognizable animal forms such as fowl or mammals which the artist calls comforting.

yumie’s sculptures begin from the idea of a flower, which she sees as a stand in for the human body.  she uses molds to create base forms which she alters and adds onto.  her glazes push the flower-like qualities forward, with thick feldspathic nodules that sit on top of the form like button mushrooms or crawl off the clay body leaving what looks like a naturally occurring pattern.  she also employs variegated glaze colors that bring to mind orchid or hellebore petals.  these colors are echoed in the ink washes she applies canvases which are set behind the installed work.


i’m really thrilled i got to work with these artists this month and see their shows go up.

shigaraki peops: naoki koide

i have been having a great time at shigaraki and one reason for that is all the awesome artists i am getting to know and work next to.  in this little series of blog posts i hope to briefly introduce these awesome people.

koide-san with figure.

naoki koide has appeared in this blog before, in this post about the paul clay show at salon 94.  his work is in the second picture, the pink cloud-like figure in the foreground.  that was my first time to see his work in person.  all i really knew about him was that he was represented by tomio koyama gallery, where agatha and i curated think warm: miami draws for you back in 2006.  turns out he saw the show too!  i’m a big fan of his work and am now a fan of the person as well.

koide-san spends about a week of each month at togei no mori (shigaraki ceramic cultural park) and does his clay work exclusively here. he studied at tokyo zokei university and was at one time a student/assistant of yoshitomo nara.  like nara, he used to work in plastics.  they are both featured in a show at the Museum of Contemporary Ceramic Arts right now (titled doki doki) which features artists working in other media who have created works in ceramic and variety of ceramic artists.

though he is kicking some serious butt with clay he is also beginning to explore sculpting wood, which he can do at his studio at home.  he mentioned that he gets huge chunks of wood from generous wood firing friends around shigaraki.

maquettes and small figures for mini trade

koide-san said his work is always about his family.  earlier works talked about his parents and brother and in his current work he explores his small family of three.  in sculptures of heads, which in scale are much larger than life, he portrays his wife and himself.  he often portrays his wife as larger than himself.  when i asked why that was he said that it is because she possesses more power than he.

maquette of current work.

on one side of these large sculpture an active interior is visible, full of tiny sculptures, paths and, in this series, a large figure symbolizing his young daughter.

back of maquette with inner world.

the seemingly unrelated milieu of items inside the sculpture correlate to the mess of things constantly dancing around in our heads and the placement of the daughter figure explores the different relationships the mother and father have with the daughter.

koide-san with his in progress sculptures. they are only about halfway done!

for the one short week he was in residence koide-san was a great contributor to the fun and comradeship at togei no mori.

his work is up at the new hikarie building in shibuya now.  click the link for images and an interview (with is in japanese but features some great shots of the insides of koide-san’s sculpture).

coffee break.

check back for more run downs on the awesome artists working at togei no mori this month:)

busy day.

tokyo food and friends or friends and food?

as completely pumped as i was to be reunited with all my wonderful friends in japan, i may even have been more excited about the food.  there is a lot of food pride in japan so i think my friends understood.  the whole week i was in tokyo i got to enjoy great company and great meals.  here’s a little smattering of photos, when i remembered to take them before digging into delicious food and of course, the ubiquitous memory lane:)

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shabu shabu with my tokyo gang.

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making tempura with momoru’s mama.

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my favorite ramen in tokyo, rasuta ramen.

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followed by dessert and coffee at mr. donut with masa.

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delicious dinner with my japanese teacher and her family.

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i was so lucky to chat with them about life and art and our old friends.  and chiba-sensei gave me some homemade umeboshi plums to take home.

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okonomiyaki and monjayaki with masa, mariko, and

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surprise!  yuki and blair all the way from australia.

fun times in harajuky with kiyomi, who brought us delicious japanese bakery lunch, sorry no photo!

return to tokyo.

back in tokyo after four years.  thanks to my tokyo family for taking care of me, putting me up and going out almost every night!

home wherever i go.

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photo of a photo, snapped from the facebook of stephanie burns.

i spent the first 18 years of my life in pretty much the same place, most of it in the same house.  but being the child of immigrants, was raised with this idea of other places i might call home.  i think this upbringing really impacted the way i’ve lived the second half of my life, often moving, creating communities everywhere i’ve gone.

tonight i was looking at a friend’s photos on facebook.  (i snapped this with my phone off the computer screen)  she and her partner just took a trip to europe and one of their stops was in florence, italy.  of all her amazing pics, this kind of random street scene, with closed up shops (maybe it’s on the ponte vechhio?  i’ll have to ask her…) really gave me a big shot of nostalgia.

as much as i want to go new places i want SO MUCH to go back to the places i’ve been.  i want to keep recycling my experiences somehow.  learning a new place and then leaving then returning.  returning makes everything feel new AND familiar.

i don’t know– i’ve never been one to go somewhere having done research, practiced the language, or any of that.  i love how the urgency to communicate necessitates learning, wondering around, having to ask for directions, strangers sharing their time and advice.

as much as i loved learning renaissance art history in florence, the things i remember most are…..

…the lady at the train station telling me to stop waiting in line so patiently.  because obviously, you will never get to the front if you wait, you kind of have to push your way forward.

borrowing a stranger’s cell phone to book a spot at a hostel–as the train rolled to a stop in that city’s station—and jumping out of the train on a whim to visit a new city.

…and you know, the fountain story🙂

places, people, languages, food.  i know these things are important to everyone but i want to know if they can fit centrally into my life.

i want the whole world to be my community.