第7回は山城道(やましろみち)さん (2004/8/15)

The starting point of my art is my personal experience of struggling to integrate the possibilities of artistic traditions from outside of Japan with the unique sensibilities I have had the privilege of learning and being a part of in Okinawa. Okinawa is an island nation with a very specific identity, which welcomes foreign influences rather than seeks isolation from them. I lived in the countryside, between the sea and the jungle, and feel strong ties to the beauty and rhythms of nature. My work cannot help but be a reflection of these unique experiences, and the time spent living in North America have made me more and more aware of it.

I moved to Canada in hopes of defining my experience beyond the parameters allowed in Japanese art school, which emphasizes classical models. My connection with art is based on a sense of harmony between aesthetics and daily life, and is not limited to the convention of museum art. I am fascinated by non-standard approaches, especially the patterns of life and nature, the constant cycle of metamorphosis from one state to another which forms the basis of life but is denied in modern mass society in favour of unchangeable labels and conformist-consumerist ideology. Science and the scientific process are constant interests of mine, as they provides a counter narrative which does not produce certainties and absolutes but rather is formed of an endless curiosity about nature. The natural world is very attractive to me, mysterious and unsettling yet omnipresent. Despite how modernity seeks to cut off our connections! with nature and replace them with debased notions of progress, life is repetitive and full of cycles and my work attempts to express this organic unity. In this way science is an integral part of my work.

The other major aspects of my work are visuality, process and aesthetics. To me the material aspects of art are primary. My work emphasizes texture quite dramatically, and explores the materiality of painting as much as color and composition. Every painting I make is an attempt to rediscover the possibilities of the medium, an experiment in controlled randomness. The ebbs and flows of colors trace their own ways on the canvas with my brush serving as guide not as master. I love to experiment with new techniques and materials and oils to see how varied the results can be. To me the process of making art is extremely important, much more so than the resulting product. The more difficulties I encounter while making art, the more I learn and the more I improve. I feel that learning and growing should be the main goal of art, and being an artist means to struggle and grow endlessly, which is the only way for one’s art to remain vital.

Coming from a Japanese educational background, my work unashamedly attempts to be aesthetically pleasing. I feel that beauty is an unavoidable aspect of art, and that art cannot exist otherwise. My concept of beauty is found in the harmony of simplicity and purity. By distilling the world into essences beauty can be found anywhere, whether they be a drop of water or traditional calligraphy. Paradoxically, such natural beauty can only be found in the artificial processes of art. Any artwork should strive to achieve aesthetic perfection and bring some beauty into the viewer’s life, or else it disgraces itself into irrelevance. By incorporating a consciousness of the organic unity between spirituality, beauty and nature in my art, I can both challenge and entice viewers into a relationship with the artwork that I hope will be just as rewarding for them as it was for me.

作品・文:Michi Yamashiro