Observable Phenomena

Mariko Kusumoto’s explores translucency

In her artist’s statement, Japanese artist Mariko Kusumoto writes that her “work reflects various, observable phenomena that stimulate my mind and senses; they can be natural or man-made.  I 'reorganize' them into a new presentation that can be described as surreal, amusing, graceful, or unexpected.  A playful, happy atmosphere pervades my work.”

Primarily a metalsmith, Kusumoto recently ventured into the world of textiles, working with translucent, gossamer fabric. Her latest exhibition at Mobilia Gallery shows how her work has evolved from working with metal, and she notes, “My recent fabric pieces have developed with much experimentation and demonstrate an evolution from the properties of metal to something completely opposite.  During the experimental process there is sometimes a breathtaking moment; I 'catch' those moments and develop ideas from that point.  I like the softness, gentle texture, and atmospheric (e.g., translucent) quality of the fabrics I use.”  

Raised on the island of Kyushu, Japan, Kusumoto grew up living in Koueiji temple where her father was a Buddhist priest. It was there she said in an interview in Fiber Art Now that she treasured “the time spent playing on the grounds and finding pieces of relics, such as shards, of ceramic and parts of tools that had been buried for many, many years.”

Unlike her metal sculptures that have heft with moving  parts, her fiber work consists of delicate and graceful pieces that appear to float. The pieces are made from numerous materials including silk, polyester, wire, stamens, and sterling silver. Some of the objects contain trinkets that hark back to her wanderings and discoveries on Kyushu Island. Her wearable art is inspired by the flora and fauna of the sea and the land. The objects are made from polyester or silk and have been heat-set into a permanent shape. Her flowers are made using the technique tsumami zaiku (an origami folding technique) in which she designed the patterns and added shibori dying techniques.

 Whether she’s working with metal or fabric her aim she writes, “is to leave some space for the viewer's imagination; I hope the viewer experiences discovery, surprise, and wonder through my work.”

Mariko Kusumoto: Spotlight Exhibition runs through April 16, 2016 at Mobilia Gallery. For more information, visit www.mobilia-gallery.com.

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