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Exhibition: Regeneration — Works by Tomoko Abe
February 22, 2016 - April 25, 2016
CRS (Center for Remembering & Sharing) announces an exhibition of collaged works by Tomoko Abe. The exhibition opens on Feb 23 and will remain on view through April 25, 2016. There will be an opening reception with the artist on Feb 27, 2016 from 6 – 8 pm.
Abe fastens together found objects and ceramic, glass and paper structures into bubbling 3D canvases, evoking the paradox of beauty found in the scattering and accumulation of waste and debris in natural environments touched by human society. Her reclamation, re-use and re-contextualization of objects echoes the way things degrade, transform and linger in the world. First encounters with these constellations of disparate bubbles protruding unexpectedly from otherworldly sun scorched canvases steal one’s breath. Wonder compels one to linger and look closely, experience the “thingness” of these things anew and contemplate our complex and bittersweet relationship to our environment.
I saw bubbles today at the wave front during my usual walk on the beach. Fine bubbles that usually disappear into the sand foamed up like fluffy clouds. I always feel a mysterious sense of comfort to see countless bubbles, being born and disappearing simultaneously without me knowing when or how. But today, the bubbles did not disappear. When I scooped some foam into my palm it smelled like washing detergent. The inspiration for this show comes from this kind of daily landscape in which a little bit of sadness co-exists with beauty. I would be pleased, if I could create works that convey a sense of regeneration and power of healing present in this ephemeral world of ours. — Tomoko Abe
I have been inspired by unnoticeable elements of nature, such as wind, soil and bubbles, as well as man-made artifacts such as industrial wastes and debris. I use such seemingly trivial objects in my installations to bring them back to life, using the power of clay as a universal and embracing medium. Many of these objects are being consumed and thrown out as daily wastes in our culture of mass production and consumption. I incorporate them as cast objects, along with metal, glass, rubber, tree-bark, pieces of shellfish and other non-essentials. In some of my works, I install them against a backdrop paper with cyanotype print of the pieces. The white shadows, displaced from the pieces, may suggest the passage of time or may be seen as spiritual footsteps seeking a connection to their original pieces. Ceramic and glass pieces spread over a wall may seem like small particles in the universe lost in time. Viewing them, one may get the feeling that the wastes we once threw out as undesired objects are regenerated. At the same time, it may make us realize how small we are as compared to the cosmos they depict.
Tomoko Abe graduated from the Edinburgh College of Art and obtained BA in painting with First Class Honour, during which she also spent half a year at Escuela de Bellas Artes in Salamanca, Spain, on the ERASMUS scholarship. She has shown her works in many exhibitions both domestically and internationally and has received various awards, including First Class Honour Prize for distinguished work and Helen A. Rose Request at Royal Scottish Academy (Edinburgh, UK). Her works have been featured in the media, including 500 Raku, New York Times and Ceramics Art and Perception. Her work ranges from painting, ceramics and sculpture, but recently most of her work has centered around ceramic installations. Tomoko draws on inspirations from evolving and decaying elements of nature and their spiritual imprints.