Growing into Roots
Sept 8th 6:30-10pm
Sept 8th - Sept 26th, 2018
This summer I had the honor of attending the prestigious residency program at the Shigaraki Ceramics Cultural Park in Shiga prefecture, Japan, to further my exploration of ceramics, a medium that I have developed a passion for in the last 6 years. It was a humbling experience to learn traditional techniques and to use the traditional wood fueled kilns, as well as discover that all the local clays and different techniques of glazing and firing employed in my home country for centuries. During my 3 month stay at the residency I chose to make learning about these techniques, about my own cultural heritage, my priority. I continued working with the same " bunny primitive" forms I had been creating in the US, and found so much joy in discovering these parts of my culture I wasn't aware of before.
It's struck me that I had left Japan in 1997 as a teenager, wanting to escape what I thought of as a rigid, staid culture, for the relative excitement and artistic freedom of the USA. I have made a good life here in Los Angeles over the last two decades, and have been fortunate to make a living from my artistic practice, but I have missed my family and thought of this residency as a good excuse to see more of them while I continued to work. What I found, though, was a new appreciation for my own heritage. Maybe it is just a function of having been away so long, or the newly chaotic cultural climate in the US these last few years, or maybe I have just matured enough to appreciate Japanese culture (a culture that, unlike American culture, really reveres, and in many ways is geared toward, older people). Probably it is a combination of all these things, but whatever the case, attending the residency, and creating the works I am presenting in this exhibition, altered my direction in life, and gave me a new understanding of my identity.
I hope that you will enjoy the fruits of this process.