The aesthetic is irregular, intimate, unpretentious, earthy, and an antidote to the corporate mindset that has saturated our daily dealings.
The painted leaves suspended overhead from bamboo poles were made by high school students in the East Boston Advanced Art class. They collected leaves from the neighborhood to use as templates.
The bamboo poles were gathered from my backyard garden in Cambridge.
The young artists made me 108 leaves, because the number 108 is considered, by many cultures, to be a sacred number that connects us to our place in the cosmic order.
All of the art objects chosen for Wabi Sabi are made of simple non-technical material--paper, plaster, glues, found objects, ceramic. I made an origami gallery guide to hand out to visitors.
In the simplicity of my materials and tools, I bowed to the children who continue to mesmerize and impress me, as well as reexamined my responsibility to leave the world safe for them.
Boston artist Joseph Fontinha married my ‘Japanese daughter’ Asami. In the video, “How to Tie an Obi," Asami and Joseph’s teenage daughter is being dressed in a blue kimono by Asami’s 96 year-old grandmother.
(For two decades my family and I have hosted international students in our house.They are young women who want to improve their English language skill so that they may be well-employed when they return to their home countries.)
The tea ceremony works directly on all five senses. This is by design. Buddhist monks apparently structured the ritual so that it would wake people up, both physically and spiritually.
The basket is full of smooth rocks collected from New England beaches.
When the Japanese mend broken objects, they aggrandize the damage by filling in the cracks with gold. The repair is called kintsugi. Something that has suffered damage and history becomes more beautiful.
My husband and I met practicing Aikido, a Japanese martial art. Consequently we are fond of everything Japanese. One summer, in Italy, he packed the three ceramic plates I had made in his backpack. Then, running for a train, he dropped the backpack. My plates shattered.
Two years later, a Kintsugi artist repaired the plates. The gold seams remind us to celebrate loss, synthesis, improvement, change.
The exquisite silk sea sponge forms in the “Youth's Voice” assemblage are artifacts from my early career as a sponge importer. In the 80s, I designed packaging and distributed ‘silk’ and ‘wool’ sponges to cosmetic stores, bath shops and health food stores.
Visual artist Roberta Pyx Sutherland, lives in Victoria, Canada. Her practice contemplates the ancient symbolic circle and its capacity to transmit a non-verbal experience.
The repetition of the circle embodies cosmic patterning, divine intelligence, the environment and the interconnectivity of all life forms.
I invited people I love and have loved to be with me in the art making for this exhibit.
Everything was sacred: the noren I sewed to separate the gallery space from the entry hall, my husband ’s Aikido sword that stood on the floor, my old Bolex super-8 camera placed in a window.
The tools, objects and materials I used possessed ancestors that continued on within the gallery realm.