MAKI Gallery is pleased to present an online exhibition by Miya Ando in the online viewing room on our website. Ando is of American and Japanese parentage, and her artistic sensibility has been polished by her awareness of these two cultures. The certainty that two opposing and sometimes contradictory elements can become one informs her creative practice. In this exhibition, we will introduce her series, 'Kumo (Cloud)', which is representative of this concept, together with another series, Shou Sugi Ban, which skilfully incorporates traditional Japanese techniques.
'Kumo (Cloud)' was inspired by Buddhist teachings that were a great influence on the artist. Clouds do not have fixed forms. They change their shape and colour from moment to moment. They seem to have substance but they do not, as expressed in the Japanese phrase, 'like grasping at cloud', which is used to indicate something that is vague or too indefinite to pin down. They are representative of the impermanence of all things, that everything is always in flux, which is why they appear in various ways as motifs in Andoʼs work.
Furthermore, the artist draws these clouds on sheets of metal using a laser. Metal is rigid, heavy, and it takes time for them to undergo a material, physical change (or they hardly ever do). It is a substance with a solid presence. Drawing an ephemeral, ever-changing cloud on this substance, she achieves the fusion of completely opposing qualities in her work.
Ando has incorporated an ancient Japanese method of preserving wood into her technique, as encapsulated in her series, 'Shou Sugi Ban'. The blackened, charred wood would absorb all light were it not for the addition of silver nitrate, which creates an area where all the light is reflected. Light and dark come to coexist as gradations in a single material. Here, too, we find the expression of opposing qualities in a single work.
Thus, the artist absorbs two different cultures and through a process of sublimation, transcends their duality in a single work. Her work suggests that, viewed from a higher level, dualism is false—all things are one (fuji ＊ 1) and hold the possibility of merging.
We hope that many of you will take this opportunity to view Andoʼs works, which we are introducing for the first time, via our online viewing room.
＊1 Fuji ( 不二 ) is a Buddhist term meaning, 'what may appear to be opposed and binary is not opposed and is one, when seen from an absolute standpoint'. (Source: Dejitaru Daijiten [Digital Encyclopedia], Shōgakukan)
Press release courtesy MAKI.