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2022. 01 Tension / Scale

Solo Exhibition at Stephen Gallery at University of the Ozark

Manami Ishimura


Stephen Gallery University of the Ozark

Artist Statement

My works strive to depict the ephemeral beauty of moments which generally go unseen. When I practiced meditation at a temple in Lamphun, Thailand, my conscious mind left my physical element. In that moment, only breathing connected my body and my consciousness.

My experience living in other countries has made me more aware of this kind of moment, and of the liminal states that exist between consciousness and body, between myself and others. and between inanimate elements and living organisms. All of this reflects the ephemeral life of beauty, as in that quiet but profound moment of breathing at the temple.

This exhibition Scale/Tension is a series of sculptures inspired by the aesthetics of observation in cultures. En and Lan are inspired by the traditional Japanese practice of flower arrangement, Ikebana. Ikebana is originally from a ritual of the Japanese religious culture to dedicate plants and flowers to the gods. Monks picked seasonal plants and flowers, trimming them off carefully observing them to emphasize the beauty of their form. These they arranged, lifelike, in a vase. Practice in their observation is to invoke the mystic power of life in a vase as if they were trying to embrace both emptiness and substance of life. In En and Lan, trimmed branches are housed in end-to-end acrylic boxes- nature shut behind a transparent barrier, generating a dynamic infinite circulation, as if still alive.

The series of Tension is inspired by the practice of stonemason. When stonemason carve a stone, they explore the points to meet a “life” in a “void” solid mass. In Tension, found natural objects are soaked in resin and carefully measured by pointing tip to find a tension between a void and a life. Following this gesture and aesthetic, my studio practice searches for the boundary between naturalness and artificiality, embracing and delineating the struggle of the division between the two.


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