Friday, November 16, 2007

"Japanese Art"

I’ve been spending so many hours lately in the company of some great Japanese and Asian Art--for example, the okubi-e prints of Kitagawa Utamaro. It would be strange if nothing whatsoever of that rubbed off on me.... Here are a few things where the influence has, hopefully, been favorable. --I post them with some hesitation, for clearly there is still a long way to go.

These are all variations on a theme, wet-folded from paper of various kinds. Actually, I’ve been wanting for some time to branch away from foil-paper folding, my main medium for face-work. Foil-paper is a beautiful & rich medium unto itself, which is either a department of or a field adjacent to origami; but there are certain paperfolding values that foil manipulation just can’t capture. And in any case it was high time I learned how to wet-fold.

More is coming.

I’ve held off doing figures that are viewable 360 x 360, not because that is not a desirable result in itself, but because I wanted first to be sure I have a technique which preserved clean surfaces in the face, so that it would not invariably be grimacing, grotesque or “fantasy-oriented” as it is with some of the others who work onhuman figures. Now that I have such a method I can proceed to the rear and work down to the rest of the body, if need be. But I am in no hurry to get there. As I see it, the technical problem to be solved is not how to go all the way round or get all the way to the toenails. It is how to assure that each step does not “injure the paper”, to adapt a quaint concept from Yoshizawa.

The last few works are less “Japanesey” but still perhaps “Asian”: I may have had in the back of my mind (I certainly wasn't directly copying anything) some Tang Dynasty sculptures with the clump on the top of the head and that beautiful air of disarming tranquility, that you can make with a dollop of clay. That is possible with origami too. And since it is possible---it is necessary.