Artist : Motoi Yamamoto

One of the comments made on my last post about installation artist, Jean Shin, was by Kristin L. She had a great question: How do installations move around? Of course, each exhibit varies but Motoi Yamamoto's salt installations have a very unique answer to that question.

Labyrinth by Motoi Yamamoto. March-May 2012
Incredible, no? But when you see these in the scale of a museum, they're even more amazing.

Labyrinth by Motoi Yamamoto.
September - December 2012
Yamamoto began this series after the early death of his sister at the age of twenty four to brain cancer. He had worked in other mediums, like glass, but it was at her funeral in Japan that salt began to play a role in his work. Salt is thrown over your shoulder as part of a purification ritual after a Shinto funeral. His first works were made in private as a way to remember his sister.

Labyrinth by Motoi Yamamoto.
As Yamamoto began to work in the medium, he learned so many other important human needs for salt: for humans health, as a food preservative, even as a form of money. I just read yesterday the word salary comes from sal i.e. salt when salt was used as currency during roman times.

Labyrinth by Motoi Yamamoto.

These installations have also become a sort of labyrinth, a symbol of being born and life itself. How fitting then to have a labyrinth made of salt. Yamamoto says he often has at least one vivid dream of his sister when working on each piece.

Labyrinth by Motoi Yamamoto.
Regarding installation, the museums and galleries are often open during his slow on site process of making each piece. He often works up to twelve hours a day to complete a piece. Here's a video showing the installation in progress.

And at the end? All of the salt is returned to the sea during a public ritual called umini kaeru. It was a janitor at an exhibition in South Carolina that thought it was tragic to simply throw the piece away and suggested a ritual should take place.

See more of Yamamoto's works on his website. His work can be seen right now in the US, at the Laband Gallery at Layola Marymount College in Los Angeles until December 7th. I feel honored to have visited his hometown ten years ago in Kanazawa, Japan. A beautiful town by the sea, I can see how this city could have inspired him.


Artist : Jean Shin

One of the consistent questions people ask when they see my new Land Grab series is "How do you plan to show the work?" I always answer "Just like you see it, on the floor or on the wall." This answer always leads to raised eyebrows. Not in a frame or on a canvas? A lot of artists chose to create installations because it really is the best way to present their idea behind their work.

Alterations, 1999.
And hence, I'd like to make my point that there is a LOT of great, mind blowing art that isn't 'framed' or uses only one medium. I found a great artist to share with you who wrecks those entire notions: Jean Shin. I found her work after reading Lari's blog about this artist, who mentions Jean as a major inspiration in her work. I wasn't sure at first, what those blue 'vases' were in the photo above. Until I saw this.

Alterations, 1999.
Clever and amazing.

Hide Series, 2004.
The above materials are made up of leather and suede shoes and shoelaces. Let me just say, Jean is all over the map with her materials, which is her point. But it all works, it all makes sense for each of its' subjects.

In her own words:

By transforming accumulations of everyday objects into visually alluring conceptual explorations, my work speaks to the optimism inherent in giving new form to life’s leftovers.  In my sculptures and large-scale installations, I seek to recall an object’s past, as well as suggest its greater connection to our collective memories, desires and failures.
- Jean Shin

I tend to have a weakness for artists who use repetition in their work. She has a way of placing the pieces in such a way that they almost breath with the lives of the past owners. I love this piece.

Stepping Stones (Pots and Pans), 2007.
Putting the everyday object in an unexpected location can completely turn around the meaning of a piece. In the case above, from a cooking pot to a musical instrument.

Chemical Balance, 2005-9.
What happens to all those pill bottles we leave behind every year in our overuse of medications. The title tells it all, Chemical Balance.

See more of Jean Shin's work at her website. Jean was featured along with her co-designer, Brian Ripple, in The Boston Globe for their "Retreat" installation at the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln, MA.


Upcoming Show : Retooled/Repackaged in Detroit

Four of my Foreclosure Quilts will be in an upcoming show in Detroit, Michigan entitled Retooled/Repackaged. The exhibition coincides with the Great Lakes Bioneers Conference at Marygrove College. And guess what? The Detroit Foreclosure Quilt will be included in the show. Detroit in Detroit, how apt.

Detroit Foreclosure Quilt, 2011.
The artwork chosen for the exhibition makes statements on the environment, the green movement and ecological issues. I'm still waiting to hear back on the final list of artists, three of us for sure, perhaps two more. I'll repost with names once everyone is confirmed.

Marygrove College gallery space.
The exhibition runs froOctober 19 – November 21, 2012 with the opening reception on Friday October 19th from 5 - 8. Here's a link to the gallery where the work will be featured, it sure looks like a fantastic space. If you're at all near Detroit, head on over and check it out!


Interview with Polly Leonard of Selvedge Magazine

I had the amazing opportunity a few weeks ago to interview Editor in Chief, Polly Leonard, of Selvedge Magazine for Handful of Salt.

Image courtesy of Selvedge Magazine.
I walked away from the phone interview full of ideas about the bigger picture of craft in the art world. Polly is one of those people who is able to stand back and see the big picture in the world of textiles.

Image courtesy of Selvedge Magazine.
A very inspiring person to talk to! And the latest copy of the magazine just arrived in my mailbox last week. Head on over to Handful of Salt to read the full interview.


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