Thursday, March 11, 2010

Double Bill

Today I went to two art shows - one put on by the Victoria Sketch Club, which was largely painted landscapes, and the other one a Japanese art exhibit at the Greater Victoria Art Gallery that spanned a range of time periods. I delighted in the detail, beauty and intriguing scenes of the Japanese wood block prints, or ukiyo-e. I noticed some familiar shibori designs on the clothing of some of the people in the prints. A favourite piece for me was a 14th century silk hanging scroll in soft colours with gold leaf, meant to be meditated on and depicting the letter 'A' over a lotus, surrounded by a cirlce of light. Contemporary Japanese artist Sayaka Akiyama had a number of pieces that were made of fabric, paper, beads, yarns, glitter, paint, buttons and even noodles that were like a visual diary showing her inner landscape in relation to the actual geography - the places she experienced or 'footprints of time'. There was also a fabric room made from maps printed on polyester sheers and stitched with embroidery threads and other fibers - very interesting idea! I find that I constantly record in a myriad of ways - what I spend, my appointments, journals, kept ephemera like ticket stubs, photos, art. Just one life contains a huge amount of history. But back to the show - another contemporary Japanese artist 'Manabu Ikeda' had a piece called Waterway with small ships sailing on the sea and their smoke from the smoke stacks rising above in a giant crab form, making me think of how our pollution is creating a monster we have to contend with. One last display that I enjoyed was called 'Real World Avatars', where Elizabeth Litton had asked her UVic students to create avatars - to remake themselves out of paper mache, such that ordinary 'rules' like not being able to fly didn't apply, and with an intention of making a significant difference in the world. Very interesting to see the variety.

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