Thursday, March 12, 2009


I got to looking into Ikebana and found a gallery with monumental Ikebana "Sogetsu" pieces. They are awesome. I love the Japanese aesthetic.

It's exiting to see how the Japanese artists have found a way to mesh their traditions with modernism. These two remind me of what Petah Coyne and others are doing with plants and other things - from the The 85th Sogetsu Ikebana Exhibition at Shinjuku Takashimaya Department Store, November 2003:

Other Exs:

The 90th Sogetsu Annual Exhibition “Flowering Smile” at the Nihombashi Takashimaya Department Store, Tokyo, November 2008.
Materials: Black bamboo, bamboo, Japanese hemlock, Japanese persimmon with moss
Container: Iron container

Akane's bamboo installation for the 150 Anniversary of Japan-France Relations Celebration Art Exhibition “VIVRE - Akane Teshigahara + Pierre-Gilles Delorme” at the Sogetsu Plaza, Tokyo, September 2008.

Akane's installation at Shinjuku Takashimaya Department store, Tokyo, March 2008.

Yamamoto Yasuro Ceramic Show, Tsuta(ivy) salon, March 5-9, 2003. Iemoto Akane Teshigahara created a space-ikebana-ceramic collaboration.

I don't know if the stores sponsor/underwrite the artists or just provide a venue. I would expect that the Sogetsu would draw visitors and shoppers. They would certainly enhance/improve the stores environment. While I'm sure that the stores advertise in the usual American way as well, these are more fun, and would be a better use of money spent (IMO) if the stores do indeed help with the costs.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Petah Coyne

Sandy Winters was visiting Indiana State University and while she was there she discussed the new work I have in an exhibit there. She mentioned Petah Coyne - whom I was happy to hear about. It sounds like she is someone I can relate to.

The New York Times has an article with a story about her and fish that reminds me of a story that my husband likes to talk about with me and seaweed....

I've been experimenting with using a variety of material these days. I also like getting a natural feel going. An excerpt from the NYT article (2005):

ON a recent morning in her airy studio, Petah Coyne was finishing up some big sculptures - black, wax-covered, botanically inspired floral creations. They were stunning but a little scary, as if cultivated by a demented Mother Nature. "I love it when they look past maintenance," Ms. Coyne said, "like a plant on somebody's porch that's kind of lost its mind."

The artist, 51, concedes a long affinity for things run amok. In 1977, shortly after she moved to New York from Cincinnati, she filled her SoHo loft with installations of dead fish she found in Chinatown markets. When her husband could stand it no more, she hung the smelly things from a tree in her neighborhood, creating a public artwork.

Over the next decade, her materials grew more aggressive. For a solo show that cemented her reputation in 1987, she filled the original Manhattan space of the Sculpture Center with a spooky forest of decayed logs, roots, hay, tar and other things more often found in landfills than Upper East Side art houses. Before the opening, the Fire Department made her haul away much of the hay. Today, still a bit annoyed, she laughs about it.

In the 1990's, Ms. Coyne became known less for the gritty works - mud, oily black sand, razor-sharp metal from shredded cars - than for a series of pristine, ultrafeminine, chandelierlike white confections of dripped wax, birds, bows and candles.

As the first traveling show surveying her career opens this weekend at the Sculpture Center (an adjunct show opens on Jan. 29 in Chelsea), it seems that she is reconciling those material extremes. Common themes emerge among broadly different works, like metaphors of transition and redemption, or the strength, poetry and absurdity embedded in base and kitschy materials...

The artist's supplies, the fake and dead flora and fauna, are arranged in careful groupings: boxes of vivid silk flowers, foam slabs into which an array of wax-dipped blossoms are inserted, trays of vintage birds and squirrels preserved through taxidermy, pots full of black melted wax, branches, feathers and mundane materials like chicken wire and two-by-fours...

Ultimately, she said, "I am trying for the essence of something - the same way Japanese literature never points directly at something and says it's black, but just describes the darkness. It seems to me the way to tell the truth."

Another article - from Bombsite on Coyne.