Trees

A constant subject

Recently, I read a post on artist Judy Paul’s blog talking about trees as a subject matter, and got inspired to go down memory lane and visit the influence and presence of trees in my own work. My first exhibit was called Trees (I mean how creative can you get?) featuring.(amongst other pieces) a set of three intaglio prints, named Inaudible.. See more in portfolio

Inaudible IV

I made a few more of these, reminiscent of Fall on the University of Washington campus and my walk to class in the morning. The tree steak ended with an Ode to one of my favorite songs, The Trees by Canadian Band Rush, Here it is:

An Ode,  Intaglio, Aquatint, Collage.

An Ode, Intaglio, Aquatint, Collage.

Influences

Mondrian, of course, tops my list! Art historian Yve-Alain Bois, in his essay, “The Iconoclast,” suggests that Mondrian embraced a tenet of postimpressionism as articulated by “Maurice Denis: all forms of illusion in painting. just be resisted, and the domain of art and nature must not be confused (55). Further in his essay, citing Mondrian’s philosophical evolution, Bois points us to the artist’s thoughts in “De Nieuwe Beelding:”

Being is manifested or known only by its opposite. This implies that the visible, the natural concrete, is not known through visible nature, but through its opposite. For modern consciousness, this means that visible reality can be expressed only by abstract-real plastic". (Bois, 55)

Thats a lot to think about, I know, but also feel like it boils down to what Edel Atman says, “all art is abstract.” Listen to her wonderful talks here and here.

Back to my own journey with trees, I had to attempt Mondrian’s gorgeous Red Tree and once I started painting with acrylics, I made this:

Yes, I do not have black (and can’t compare to the painting above)! I am not there yet—It’s a strong statement, don’t you know!   Channeling Cèzanne below, and the Fauves.

Yes, I do not have black (and can’t compare to the painting above)! I am not there yet—It’s a strong statement, don’t you know!

Channeling Cèzanne below, and the Fauves.

IMG_8907.jpg

Chartreuse

20”X16”

Acrylic on Canvas

Evening Walk    36”X24”    Acrylic on Canvas

Evening Walk

36”X24”

Acrylic on Canvas

This is a work in progress!   Available Light   18”X24”  Acrylic on board

This is a work in progress!

Available Light

18”X24”

Acrylic on board

Miné Okubo

Okubo's graphic memoir seems timely even 72 years after it was published. Okubo was one of the  American citizens of Japanese descent, who were placed in "relocation centers" following the bombing of Pearl Harbor and President Roosevelt's Executive Order 9066, authorizing the "displacement of people of Japanese ancestry from the Western United States" (vii). Okubo documented her life in these centers thereby giving the world a rare source showing what life was like in the camps, especially since no photography was allowed within the area. Her line drawings with text are extensive (nearly two hundred of them) and the accompanying text is poignant. A must read!

Image: Cover

Image: Cover

Page 12. Image courtesy: http://www.nijomu.com/reviews/citizen-13660-by-mine-okubo/

Page 12. Image courtesy: http://www.nijomu.com/reviews/citizen-13660-by-mine-okubo/

Image: Okubo, Miné,  Citizen 13660.  Page   23

Image: Okubo, Miné, Citizen 13660. Page 23

Image: Okubo, Miné,  Citizen 13660 . Page 53

Image: Okubo, Miné, Citizen 13660. Page 53

Mirada Art Gallery Exhibit

Memorial Day Weekend exhibit by the sea

Gloves and laundry baskets have woven through the warp and weft of my life; sometimes a dominating and exhausting presence, and at others, a comforting and reassuring backdrop. Gloves, the omnipresent and versatile accessory, form the preoccupation of the Gloves series and stand witness to labors of love: caregiving, housekeeping, and artmaking. Representations of laundry baskets mark moments when a daunting heap of laundry to be folded became a welcome place of warmth as my toddler rolled around in it, delighting in the fragrance and feel of freshly laundered fabric. As she grew older, the ‘dunes’ occasionally became a place for congeniality as we folded laundry together, conversing, or in silence. 

The ordinary and the routine hold milestones and memories that make life, and form spaces that have served as a fertile bed for creativity for artists through generations. That’s not all. Irish poet Michael Longley points out that in times of great duress, “sanity itself depends on these banal, commonplace little things.”The art on display is an attempt to celebrate that commonplace, and as Krista Tippet says, “reassert the liveliness of ordinary things.” 

My corner. Starting from the left,  Gloves  Series,  The Only Time I Love My Laundry, Disruption, Hope, Unyielding  (on the table)

My corner. Starting from the left, Gloves Series, The Only Time I Love My Laundry, Disruption, Hope, Unyielding (on the table)

A closer look at the "Gloves" series.

These are a series of one-off prints, starting with the B/W print in the middle. Through the process of erasure, new markings, collage, and paint, the prints show my fascination with gloves as an accessory, both utilitarian and decorative, as well as my preoccupation with labors of love in many forms: caregiving, housekeeping, and artmaking.

Marinade

I have been thinking about migration, gender, and identity (again) and came across Gloria Anzaldua's words, worth sharing in full:

 Living in a state of psychics unrest, in a Borderland, is what makes poets write and artists create. It is like a cactus needle embedded in the flesh. It worries itself deeper and deeper, and I keep aggravating it by poking at it. When it begins to fester I have to do something to put an end to the aggravation and to figure out why I have it. I get deep down into the place wher it is rooted in my skin and pluck away at it, playing it like a musical instrument--the fingers pressing, making the pain worse before it can get better. Then out it comes. No more disconfort, no more ambivalence. Until another needle pierces the skin. That's what writing is for me, an endless cycle of making it worse, making it better, but always making meaning out of experience, whatever it may be (Borderlands, 95).
Keeping myself honest with a 30 minute endeavor; featuring one of my companion cacti.

Keeping myself honest with a 30 minute endeavor; featuring one of my companion cacti.

My preoccupation with forced migration, and subsequent displacement also led me to artist Tiffany Chung's work shedding a light on global humanitarian crises through cartographic imagery. More on this theme soon.

Tiffany Chung  one giant great flood 2050 , 2012  Image courtesy:   SFMOMA

Tiffany Chung one giant great flood 2050, 2012

Image courtesy: SFMOMA

A Divine Exhibit

Divine Bodies  Exhibit at the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco

Divine Bodies Exhibit at the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco

Hello and welcome to my blog! Here you will find thoughts on art and literature, glimpses of my ongoing projects, exhibitions, and anything else that makes life meaningful and divine! Speaking of divine, I recently made a trip to the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco and got lost in their feature exhibit, Divine Bodies. Much as the name suggests, the exhibition provides space for reflection, and successfully navigates between the transcendent and the mundane. There is a lot to see, however, I would like to bring your attention to two of my favorite contemporary works on display: Dayanita Singh's project, Myself Mona Ahmed, and Gauri Gill's Notes from the Desert, a subset of Traces, "a series memorialising unmarked and marked graves in the desert."

Myself Mona Ahmed  by Dayanita Singh. Image Credit: https://blog.saffronart.com/2013/06/07/venezia-calling/ Read all about it  here

Myself Mona Ahmed by Dayanita Singh. Image Credit: https://blog.saffronart.com/2013/06/07/venezia-calling/ Read all about it here

Myself Mona Ahmed

Singh's black and white photography showcases Mona Ahmed, a member of India's hijra or, the "third gendercommunity (read more about the difference in the terms, transgender and hijra, and why they are not interchangeable here), in a manner that is highly sensitive and, nunaced. Mona's myriad expressions, caught in the course of everday life--Singh collaborated with Mona over a period of time--are evocative; the video of a melancholy Mona lipsyncing an old Bollywood song from a 1950s film (Rasik Balma) is a show stopper. Singh says of Mona, "To me she is just Mona, but to her family she is Ahmed." Read her wonderfully candid account of her time with Mona here. Mona's story is poignant no doubt, but the heartbreak, and Mona's good cheer serve a gut punch when Singh narrates, "in the graveyard where she (Mona) now lives in a house built on her ancestor’s graves, she is building a palace." (http://dayanitasingh.net/myself-mona-ahmed/).

Notes from The Desert

Graves in themselves don’t necessarily interest me. Sure, I might walk through a famous graveyard for its sense of history but I won’t necessarily photograph anything. I am interested in these specific graves, for so many reasons. For one, there’s a tenderness to them because of this act of making. Even the gravestones might be handwritten. They exist among communities with limited economic resources, so there is a simplicity. People often gather materials from nature to create them. And they are located in the desert, which reabsorbs them over time. An outsider might not even know that there is a burial site here.
                                                                                         -- Gauri Gill  (qtd. in Scroll.in)
Untitled (3)  from the series  Traces .Image credit:https://scroll.in/magazine/830031/photographer-gauri-gill-uncovers-the-secret-lives-of-graves-in-rajasthan

Untitled (3) from the series Traces.Image credit:https://scroll.in/magazine/830031/photographer-gauri-gill-uncovers-the-secret-lives-of-graves-in-rajasthan

Haunting and mesmerizing, Gill's work made me slow down...almost to a halt, as I took in the large, life-size, black and white images of seemingly unmarked graves. I imagine, these would be easy to miss, if one were just a passerby. Gill's close scrutiny with the camera gradually brings the intent of the grave-makers into focus with startling clarity. These images are from her archive of photographs taken in the remote villages of Western Rajasthan, India. Read more about her work here.