NARROW ROAD TO THE INTERIOR: CONTEMPORARY JAPANESE ARTISTS
SHINJI TURNER-YAMAMOTO: GLOBAL TREE PROJECT
Scottsdale, AZ -- September 21 through January 12, 2014 The Scottsdale Museum Of Contemporary Art presents Narrow Road to the Interior: Contemporary Japanese Artists, curated by Museum assistant curator Claire Carter. The exhibition takes its name from an epic 17th century haiku by the famous Japanese poet Bashō. The Zen Buddhist masterwork of linked verse Oku no Hosomichi (Narrow Road to the Interior), takes readers on a pilgrimage—both worldly and immaterial. The 6 contemporary artists in Narrow Road to the Interior similarly evoke the idea of earthly and spiritual passage with artworks that use private experiences as entryways to universal themes.
The 10 works by Turner-Yamamoto showcased in Narrow Road to the Interior come from his two most recent series, Quintessence and Pentimenti. The latter series is featured in Shinji Turner-Yamamoto: Global Tree Project, a monograph published by Damiani. Global Tree Project focuses on 11 site-specific installations worldwide including Ireland, Finland, Italy, Japan, India, Mongolia, and the USA.
In Narrow Road to the Interior, quiet patient observation and elemental materials prove central to these artists’ practices. More than one hundred photographs, sculptures, paintings, and installations incorporate humble materials such as light, water, wood, paper, ash, stone, ink, and mirrors. The subtlety and frankness of the art epitomizes the precision and rhythm of haiku while the meditative nature of the exhibition reflects the ritual and ceremony that has persisted over centuries at the heart of Japanese culture. Other featured artists are Noriko Ambe, Rinko Kawauchi, Hiroshi Senju, Yoshiko Shimoano, Masao Yamamoto, Motoi Yamamoto, and Asami Yoshiga.
Turner-Yamamoto’s work melds ancient Japanese tradition and contemporary culture offering viewers the opportunity to experience natural phenomena and the artist’s search for its essence. As Washington Post art critic Michael O’Sullivan writes, “Turner-Yamamoto’s work has both a specificity and universality. In other words, it transcends itself."
For Pentimenti, Turner-Yamamoto worked with plaster and gypsum relief fragments, and paint chips collected on site during his 2010 Hanging Garden installation at the abandoned 19th century Holy Cross Church. Using these fragments as support he employed a gold leaf gilding technique – tooling the gold – inspired by Icons from the Holy Monastery of Saint Catherine, Mount Sinai, Egypt to create a series of paintings commenting on the fragility and transience of the human experience. The series was the subject of a 2010/2011 solo exhibition Disappearances at the Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, OH.
Turner-Yamamoto's recent investigations involve study of the ubiquity of crystal formation, from the composition of clouds, diamonds within a meteorite, to the calcite micro-crystals in our pineal glands. To create the Quintessence series of paintings and sculptures he cultures crystals with water soluble minerals on supports of archival acetate and gypsum. The resultant crystals’ patterns depend mainly on the artist's collaborators: the materials' inherent geometric properties, the gravitational pull of earth, and water's evaporation/cooling process. "Quintessence pays homage to minerals and crystals, the essential elements without which our bodies can not exist," says Turner-Yamamoto. "This alchemical process explores a poetic reunion with nature, and the expression of the sublime unity and connection between nature and humanity. They manifest nature's power, its ubiquitous presence, and humanity’s intrinsic entwinement."
ABOUT Shinji Turner-Yamamoto
Born in Osaka, Japan, Turner-Yamamoto studied at Kyoto City University of Arts, and, sponsored by the Italian government, at Accademia di Belle Arti, Bologna, where he lived for eleven years. His site-specific installations worldwide include Ireland, Finland, Italy, Japan, India, Mongolia, and the USA. His Global Tree Project -- globaltreeproject.org -- is an international art initiative that seeks to open and affirm connections between audiences and the natural world. He works with identifiable imagery to encourage humanity to encounter aspects of nature in new and unexpected ways and is committed to using historic and natural elements in his work as meditations on the environment.
Site-specific installations include MONGOLIA 360°: International Land Art Biennial; HANGING GARDEN, Holy Cross Church; DISAPPEARANCES, Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, OH; Kiyomizu Temple Sutra Hall, Saigyo-an Teahouse, Kyoto, Japan; Sanskriti Foundation, New Delhi, India; Roches Tower, Crawford Art Gallery, Cork, Ireland; Palazzo Ducale, Museo d'Arte Contemporanea Villa Croce, Genoa, Italy; Les Subsistances, Lyon, France; Ippaku-tei Teahouse, Embassy of Japan, Washington, DC. His work has been featured in The New York Times T Magazine, The Washington Post, La Repubblica, Orientations Magazine, My Green City (Gestalten 2011), CSPA - The Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts, DIAOSU - National Sculpture Magazine of China. Prizes include 2011 ArtPrize International Juried Award; 2011 Gold Leaf Award, International Society of Arborioculture; 2003 UNESCO-ASCHBERG Bursaries for Artists; 2000 Pépinières Européennes pour Jeunes Artistes; first prize, 2000 Targetti Light Art Collection, and Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing North America, Inc.
Shinji Turner-Yamamoto: Global Tree Project
Distributed by D.A.P.
MORE images / high resolution jpegs of the works and PDF version of the book are available for the press.
Founded in 1999, the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art [SMoCA] is the only museum in Arizona solely devoted to the art, architecture and design of our time. Designed by award-winning architect Will Bruder, SMoCA’s minimalist building (an ingenious renovation of a former movie theater) has four galleries for showcasing changing exhibitions and works from the Museum’s growing permanent collection. SMoCA also features a mixed-use “lounge” gallery space for special programs, as well as an outdoor sculpture garden housing James Turrell’s “Knight Rise,” one of the renowned artist’s few public skyspaces, and “Scrim Wall,” a monumental curtain of translucent glass panels by James Carpenter Design Associates. The Museum presents a wide variety of educational programs and special events for adults and families, including lectures, docent-led tours, workshops and classes. The Museum Store @ SMoCA offers classic design objects and furnishings, contemporary jewelry, art and architecture books and imaginative gifts for all occasions.
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