A new collection of silk thread embroidery works from Japan’s Meiji Period (1868-1912) are on view at Heather James Fine Art. Jackson, a stand-alone-county-in-a-stand-alone-state, is being infiltrated by global movements and thought; many of those are expressed in art.
JapanGuide.com provides a summary of the Meiji Restoration: “Like other subjugated Asian nations, the Japanese were forced to sign unequal treaties with Western powers. These treaties granted the Westerners one-sided economical and legal advantages in Japan. In order to regain independence from the Europeans and Americans and establish herself as a respected nation in the world, Meiji Japan was determined to close the gap to the Western powers economically and militarily. Drastic reforms were carried out in practically all areas.”
Gold and silk threads illuminate these portraits of birds of prey. An interesting exercise would be to compare these Japanese works with avian arts from the same era at the National Museum of Wildlife Art.
“Japanese embroidery technique goes back more than one thousand years. It originated in China and was eventually introduced to Japan by Korean artisans, around the same time Buddism entered Japan,” says Heather James’ Lyndsay McCandless.
A six-panel Soga School painting of birds is part of this exhibit; the work dates from c. 1700. McCandless notes that falconry was introduced into Japan around 244AD.
“In the late sixteenth and seventeenth century, the samurai warriors had mastered falconry as part of their military training,” notes McCandless. “Both of these pieces really need to be seen and appreciated in person, so please stop by the gallery anytime and I would be happy to share them with you! Enjoy!” www.heatherjames.com
“What’s really happening is happening down in the studio with a pencil and a drawing pad, experimenting and exploring ideas and materials or executing the pieces themselves. But then how do you talk about that? If there were words, it would destroy the essence of my personal experience of fooling around with materials and ideas. I’ll leave the words to the critics.” ~Kate Hunt
Over-explaining and criticizing can suck art’s intrigue dry. We like to describe, let you know where the art is, comment and ask a few questions.
Montana born, contemporary Western sculptor Kate Hunt still resides in Kalispell, Montana. A former Lyndsay McCandless Contemporary artist, Hunt’s artwork is now available at Amangani Resort, where she has a large installation. Her work is included in the Yellowstone Art Center in Billings.
Hunt was kind enough to send me a note about an upcoming show of hers, Kate Hunt. The exhibition is up at Seattle’s Davidson Galleries, opened February 3 and is on display through February 26, 2011.
Her work is distinctive, dense, and very satisfying to take in. She’s at one with her materials. She works in large and small scales, using materials we know: newspaper, steel, twine, nails, palm fronds. But she packs, wraps, stacks and binds these materials together to form objects that feel that they are only now arranged as they were originally meant to be. She gets to the core of these materials–and mixes a Western sensibility with Asian minimalism. Quiet, meditative, Hunt’s works can be large but they tread gently, like spirits.
If you were on an archeological dig and came upon any one of Hunt’s works, you would immediately be curious about the culture that created the blocks of nail-pierced blackened steel, curving columns and baled stacks of cut newspaper.
The show’s cover image features a row of broom-like, bristled sconces–dark paper swags hang off them like a goat’s beard. A few goats are wandering around inside, in front of the sculptures. “The goats are my pets and they just hang out,” says the artist. “They sleep in the studio I work in, in front of the fire. This day they were just there. They are named Pinky and Frida. Frida is the little female in front of the work.”
Hunt says that though a bit of time has elapsed since her last show in Jackson, she’s continuing on course. “Nothing has really changed about the materials, I just keep tunneling in deeper. One piece leads to another.” www.katehunt.com
The new exhibition opening at the National Museum of Wildlife Art, A Change of Seasons: Wildlife in Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter, is on display at the museum February 11 – April 29, 2011.
Exploring ways wildlife adapts to changing seasons, the show reflects the pride artists take in recording animal behavior in the wild, says Curator of Art Adam Duncan Harris. The show’s title was inspired by T.D. Kelsey’s bronze sculpture, A Change of Seasons, (on the museum’s Rungius Road approach), depicting two bison shedding their coats as winter gives way to spring.
“This exhibition allows us to use the breadth and flexibility of the museum’s collection to illustrate through beautiful artwork how animals adapt to the various seasons of the year, from bears fattening up for their long winter hibernation to elk in velvet,” says Harris.
The show includes these notable works: Knight Errant by Carl Rungius, a winter scene; Mother Quail by Arthur Fitzwilliam Tait for spring; Curious Visitors by Michael Coleman, summer; and Virginia White-Tail by William Jacobs Hays, fall. Question and answer formats engage visitors, presenting queries about animal behavior.
“Why do moose stand around in the water?” and “Why do bison face into the wind on cold days?”
I don’t know the answers. Do you? A visit to NMWA is afoot! www.wildlifeart.org