Notes from my 7th (and final) residency at Sawatari Gallery

August 22, 2017

Here I am on my final residency at Sawatari Gallery. I left Tokyo later than previous residency visits. I found myself to be very sleepy and tired as I made my way up to Nakanojo. As I pulled in front of Sawatari Gallery, I was nervous about seeing how many of the Drawing Cells toppled over. As it turns out, I found only four of the Drawing Cells on their side. The thing I noticed when I opened the door to the gallery was the intense humidity and musty odor emanating from the gallery. The three weeks of constant rain resulted in a strong build up of moisture in the gallery space.

I had planned for the first task to be inserting my Daily Drawings into the frames. Unfortunately, I noticed that the frames on one of the walls were covered in mold along the edges of the frames. I pulled down one of the frames and the back of the frame was covered in mold. It turns out all the frames on that one wall were covered in mold. That specific wall seems to be porous to moisture and susceptible to mold growth. It leaves me with about 16 frames left. I took a look at the other two walls and there was no mold on the front or the back of the frames. Still, with the proliferation of mold on the frames after three weeks, I am not quite sure I am ready to put the actual drawings at risk. I am going to think about what to do with the drawings over the next two days. If I decide to install them, it will be the last thing that I do before I leave.

The weather in Sawatari started off mild and cloudy, but soon the clouds darkened and the rest of the afternoon and evening was heavy rain followed with on and off rain until I came back to the place behind Miyata-ya. I think that I am tired and my motivation is a bit lacking. There was a part of me that wanted the final visit and exhibition polishing to go smoothly and in reality it is going to require two full days of work. I started off by fixing the Drawings Cells onto the floor with a small 1 cm x 1 cm double sided tape made for outdoor use on acrylic and glass surfaces. I wanted to find a double sided tape that could be used for both concrete and acrylic surfaces, but after a thorough search of Tokyu Hands, I was not able to find such a tape. I went with this clear double sided tape and as it turns out, it actually affixes to the concrete floor fairly well.

Work started in earnest around 3:30 pm and I worked until 6:15 pm with about half an hour of conversations with various people. I started off by placing a mini-level on top of a Drawing Cell to check its level. I figure the best way to minimise the possibility of the Drawing Cells falling over would be to make sure that the Drawing Cells are standing level. I mark the location of the Drawing Cell with the mini level and then dust off the surface of each Drawing Cell and wipe down the bottom of the acrylic disc base. I then affix a small square of double sided tape to the bottom and then place it back on the floor and make sure that the Drawing Cell is essentially level. When the pipe of a Drawing Cell is a bit off center on the Drawing Cell or on the acrylic base, I end up re-aligning everything so it is back on centre before putting it back on the floor.

By the end of the evening, I managed to finish fifty or so Drawing Cells and decided to come back to the room and get some rest and start early tomorrow. I hope to finish by early tomorrow afternoon. I was able to establish a routine by the end of the day, so I think that once I get going I should be able to move through the remaining Drawing Cells. I would like a good 24 hours to see if any of the Drawing Cells fall over.

I am reluctant to use the bond solvent unless absolutely necessary.

August 23, 2017

I ended up staying up past midnight to finish the second season of The Strain and then spent the rest of the night in an on again and off again night of sleep. I woke up and made a quick visit to the gallery before breakfast to drop some stuff off.

After breakfast and a shower, I headed up to the gallery and started on fixing the rest of the Drawing Cells. As it turned out, it took the entire morning and early afternoon to finish the Drawing Cells. There were a decent number of Drawing Cells that needed to be re-mounted and I think there were probably about 150 cells that needed to be cleaned and remounted onto the floor. After I took a break for lunch, I set about to start cleaning up the space.

The first step was to vacuum the space to remove spiderwebs, dust, and various insects. I started along the edges and corners of the space and then did a bit of vacuuming between the Drawing Cells. After that, I started to clean all the windows in the gallery. I was able to clean all the front and back glass doors and the inside of the side windows. The outside of the side windows are along a ledge, so I opted out of cleaning them. In the process of vacuuming, I discovered that three of the Drawing Cells were not mounted on the floor with double-sided tape. While I was mounting those three Drawing Cells, one of the taller Drawing Cells fell over. As a result, I decided that I would use the bonding solvent on the fallen Drawing Cell. I cleaned off all the Museum Gel residue and attached the Drawing Cell and acrylic base to the pipe.

After a short break, I came back to the gallery space and spent the last two hours of the day hanging out in the gallery looking over the Drawing Cells and seeing if any of them were on the verge of falling down. I saw one more Drawing Cell that looked like it was off centre and I grabbed it and used the bond solvent on that one. Two out of 250 isn’t too bad. I think using the mini-level on each of the Drawing Cells will help minimise any additional problems. I will see what happens when I go back there tomorrow morning. I started to clean up the space and organise the materials that I will bring back to Tokyo as well as equipment or materials to have the Nakanojo staff discard or store.

The amount of work for tomorrow is minimal. I have decided to go ahead and insert sixteen drawings into the frames that appear to be okay. I think that there will be moisture issues after the Nakanojo Biennale ends, but I think it will add to the installation and give viewers a sense of what the real drawings look like.

Here is the task list.

Insert drawings into frames.
Check to see if there are any additional off-centre Drawing Cells
Use bond solvent on any necessary Drawing Cells
Vacuum the gallery space one more time
Pack up unneeded supplies

Here is my emergency repair toolkit for my visits to Nakanojo

Outdoor double sided tape
Museum gel
Dusting cloth
Bonding solvent
Mini-level

August 24, 2017

I got up early to start insert the Daily Drawings into the frames. I was quite anxious to get all the drawings in their frames and on the wall. I managed to clean the frames and insert the drawings into the frames. To try and protect the drawings from humidity and growth of mold, I inserted two sheets of paper behind the drawing and then the backing board.

After that, I headed over to Miyata-ya for breakfast and a visit to the onsen. I came back to the gallery and did one more pass with the vacuum cleaner and moved all the extraneous supplies and furniture to one corner of the gallery and started to take pictures of the installation. Here are a handful.

The rest of the time was spent sitting and watching the Drawing Cells to see if any more of them would topple over. After three hours of sitting and watching, I met up with a former staff member of AIAV who was now working with the Nakanojo Biennale for lunch at Yoshinoya. Figuring that there was not much more I could do, we decided to pack up all the furniture and garbage and drop them off at Nakanojo Biennale office. As I opened the door to the gallery, I noticed that another of the Drawing Cells had toppled over. I was surprised because it was not one of the taller Drawing Cells. I took ten minutes or so to remove the museum gel and apply the bond solvent to the fallen Drawing Cell and put it back into place. At this point, three Drawing Cells had fallen over. If the last three weeks are any indication, I should only expect one more Drawing Cell to fall over between now and the opening – should I be so lucky.

I closed up the gallery and all that remained besides the installation was a 2 meter ladder which I borrowed early on in the residency. Once that gets removed, the work is ready for documentation for the catalog sometime between August 29 and September 8.

We drop off all the equipment and I receive my artist fee for completing my installation. There is also another piece of exciting news that I hope to share with you all soon, but not quite yet.

I head back to Tokyo – exhausted. It is hard to believe that the installation is complete, but I also know that there will be daily anxiety attacks about fallen Drawing Cells. With that in mind, I have already put together my emergency repair kit to be carried with me at all times during my visits to the Nakanojo Biennale.

I have made plans to be at the Nakanojo Biennale during every weekend of the festival. Stay tuned for actual dates I will there in a post coming up very soon!

Now time to focus on the Tokyo Art Book Fair and the “noise” Printmaking Project/Exhibitions….

Notes from my 6th residency at Sawatari Gallery

July 28, 2017

Here I am on the first evening of my sixth residency at Nakanojo. Staying behind Miyataya again this time. I feel more prepared and adjusted this time around knowing my routine. On my way up to Nakanojo, I realised how routine the commute to and from Nakanojo is. I pack my clothes and supplies on Thursday night, get up early on Friday and catch the 9:14 train to Omiya, use the restroom, hop on the Takasaki Line to Takasaki. I have twenty minutes, so I stop by the convenience store to pick up lunch and then use the restroom after the rush. I catch the Agatsuma Line train and do some drawing before arriving in Nakanojo. On the way to Sawatari Gallery, I ask to stop at the convenience store for liquids before arriving at Sawatari Gallery. I eat lunch and then grab the keys for the place behind Miyataya and then get to work. I did change things up a bit this time. I took a break around 4 pm to drop off my luggage at the place behind Miyataya and then packed my bag with a change of clothes so I could take a shower after dinner at Yoshinoya.

I arrived at Sawatari Gallery today and everything was just the way that I left it. I think that people who have come to see the space during my studio work have assumed that the layout on the wall was part of the exhibition. This became evident during the write up of the visit by the Nakanojo Tourism Association and then by Tobe-san who dropped me off today. In any case, I had a brief look at the installation and it seemed a bit sparse, which is probably just a response to I have been hearing this past week.

In any case, I set off to work by attaching the remaining Drawing Cells onto acrylic pipes and it took me a while to get back into the swing of rolling the museum gel and began putting the acrylic disc base on those eight left over Drawing Cells. Once I finished with those I moved on to the ones that were installed in the space last time. One of the things that I noticed was the museum gel was oozing down the acrylic pipes which got me worried that the bond between the Drawing Cell and pipe was weakened, but after a whole afternoon of working with them, I think they are fine.

In attaching the acrylic disc base, I think that the 6 cm diameter base is perfect for the Drawing Cells. They are individually much more stable, although not completely impervious to toppling over. I also realise that a fallen Drawing Cell also tends to have the connections between the pipe and discs slide and move away from centre. In any case, I finished about 100 Drawing Cells and I am quite happy with the way then look. I am starting to think about mounting the Drawing Cells that are not attached to the acrylic pipes with one of the 2 mm acrylic discs to raise them slightly above the ground. That should be easy enough to do and I have enough acrylic discs as I ended up ordering enough discs to cover all 249 Drawing Cells although only 211 Drawing Cells are attached to acrylic pipes.

I should be able to finish attaching the rest of the Drawing Cells to the acrylic disc base by the lunchtime tomorrow and I can start to pull off the blue sheets and begin laying out the final installation shape.

I wish I had managed to print out the photographs that I took during my last visit of the tentative arrangements of the Drawing Cells, but I managed to retrieve them on my iPad so I can use that as a guide for the starting point for the final installation.

July 29, 2017

I spent all morning and the early part of the afternoon attaching the acrylic disc base to the rest of the Drawing Cells which took me to about 12:30 pm. I started to remove the blue sheets from the gallery floor and began the provisional layout of the installation.

I did stop to have lunch with Kobayashi-san for about an hour. I tried to connect the Drawing Cells with the cracks and nodes in the floor. In the beginning, I tried to follow the original layout that I created last time. But as I proceeded with pulling away the blue sheets one by one, I used the original layout as a starting point but intuitively connected the drawings and the cracks. In the middle of the process, I took a break to see the progress of Kobayashi-san’s work as well as make a brief stop to say hello to another artist, Guy, who has a space a bit more up the hill from Kobayashi-san’s location. Afterwards, I made a final push to remove all the blue sheets and get a provisional layout of the installation in place. I am certain that the layout is going to change a little bit over the next two days as I try and figure out the best way for people to manoeuvre in the space as well as the refine the relationship between the Daily Drawings.

While I was finishing up the provisional layout, I also began laying out the spacing for the frames that will hold a series of the Daily Drawings made while in Nakanojo/Sawatari. I had originally envisioned 30 drawings (10 for each wall), but then I realised the back wall was not as wide as the two side walls and I have enough frames (27 total) for the installation. The tasks that need to be done for that part of the installation is to prepare each of the frames for hanging with staples and fishing line. I also need to sequence a series of 27 Daily Drawings that I will bring on my final visit to Nakanojo which I have decided will be three weeks from this visit. I am planning to come here from August 21 – 23 to finish everything up.

July 30, 2017

One of the things that I forgot to mention from my studio work last night is that the museum gel is not a fixed substance i.e. it does not harden, so is subject to slow, imperceptible movements in the minutes scale, but once a day passes, you can see how the substance moves to level itself off. I noticed yesterday that a few of the acrylic bases seemed to be off centre, but I did not think that I attached them off centre, but I did not think much of it until this morning when I saw that once of the Drawing Cells that was attached just to the acrylic base looked tilted. I picked up the Drawing Cell and saw that the base disc moved off centre to compensate for the slant of the floor.

The other experiment that I did yesterday was to affix a piece of the museum gel to the bottom of one of the acrylic disc bases and then attached it to the concrete floor. Initially, the adhesion was not very stable and I took the wait and see approach. When I walked into the studio this morning, the acrylic pipe became detached from the acrylic disc base which was extremely difficult to remove. The disc and concrete floor was firmly attached with the museum gel, but the only problem with this fact was that the museum gel left a large stain on the concrete floor which could not be removed.

As a result, I will have to nix the museum gel as a means for attaching the pipes to the floor. It looks like I am going to have to do some research and find an adhesive, yet removable silicone based material to further secure the Drawing Cells to the floor.

I also did a bit of a walk around through the installation to get feel of how people might navigate through the space and also look for tight spots which might be susceptible to visitors bumping into the Drawing Cells. I also made a few adjustments to the arrangement of the Drawing Cells trying to create more relationships between drawings made on the same day of the week. I think the process of refining the relationships could go on for a long time, but since I have the time and I am hoping to use what I learn from this installation in future projects, then I am just going to keep making adjustments in the hopes of new discoveries.

The major task for the day was to prepare the frames for the Daily Drawings made in Nakanojo/Sawatari. I managed to finish preparing the frames by stapling fishing line to the back of the frame and tie a secure knot on the back. I also measured out the wall spacing and hung all 27 frames on the walls with a blank sheet of A5 paper on the wall and started taking documentation photographs.

I also confirmed the dates for my final residency at Nakanojo which will be three weeks from this residency. I do not think it will take more than two days, but I do want to be sure, so I booked two nights just in case.

These are the tasks that I foresee on my last visit.

Check on the durability of the Drawing Cells after three weeks
Insert the Daily Drawings into the frames.
Bring air duster to remove dirt from the frames
Remove the Post It tabs from all the Drawing Cells (may be done before I leave tomorrow)
Affix the Drawing Cells to the concrete floor
Sweep the floor
Set up some white/grey tape for Do Not Enter Areas
Clean the windows in the front and back of the gallery.
Sweep the entrance way
Take the remaining supplies back to Tokyo
Contact the Nakanojo staff to remove the desk, chair, stool, and garbage and store the ladder which was found in the basement

Kind of hard to believe that the end is very much in sight.

Okay back to the gallery for another couple hours, maybe some drawings even.

Back after dinner, and I went back up to the gallery and when through all the Drawing Cells and set them more exactly on the cracks and nodes. Also the shape of the three clusters changed a bit to open up the walkways. I took photographs of all the clusters and then was at a bit of a loss as to where to go next. I decided to continue pushing towards completing the installation and removed all the Post It tabs from the Drawing Cells and in the process mapped out the Drawing Cells which was a fortunate accident since it will allow me to draw connections between the drawings made over the last six months.

Tomorrow will be very low key. I am pretty tired after a long day and I do not anticipate doing much more tomorrow. More photo documentation, especially with the possibility of the sun coming out tomorrow.

July 31, 2017

I headed up to the gallery before heading to breakfast and as it was finally sunny for the first time in my visit this time, I took a bunch of photographs in the morning light which had some nice reflections onto the gallery walls.

After breakfast, a shower, and checking out, I came back to the gallery space to discover three of the Drawing Cells had toppled over. As it turns out the Museum Gel has its many positive points, but one of the downsides is the fact that it does not solidify, but rather slowly creeps along to levelness.

I pulled the three fallen Drawing Cells and placed them on the desk while trying to troubleshoot the issue. The floor of the gallery is definitely not level in all places and especially in the cracks and nodes. The ones that came falling down were probably placed on a non-level surface allowing the gel to creep on the bottom and top of the pipe. Also, it was the taller Drawing Cells that seem prone to toppling over, so I think it is a combination of those factors. In any case, I did an inspection of all the acrylic disc bases to see if any other pipes had moved significantly away from the centre and tried to move them slightly to a more visibly level surface. For my last visit, add to the list.

My mini-level
The acrylic bond solution (needs to be purchased from Tokyo Hands)

I made the repairs on the three fallen Drawing Cells and replaced them back into the installation and doing my best to find a level surface.

As I was uploading images onto Instagram, another one of the taller Drawing Cells near the back of the gallery fell over. I suspect it was not that the floor was not level, but the wind that toppled it over.

So here are important factors in keeping the Drawing Cells upright. Levelness of the floor, height of the acrylic pipe, and significant wind.

Not much else to do today, but I will basically hang out in the gallery and monitor the individual works for any additional problems.  As it turns out, seven Drawing Cells toppled over, but all by noon.  I readjusted their locations and listened to podcasts while staring at the installation to check for any leaning Drawing Cells.  Between noon and the time I left Sawatari Gallery around 3:30 pm, no additional Drawings Cells toppled over.  Looking forward to seeing the installation in three weeks to determine what kind of preventative measures I will need to take.

Day 4 of my 3rd stay in Nakanojo

6.19.17

Right, I did some writing yesterday so I’m all caught up.  I ended up at Tachibana again last night for several hours of food and conversations (although mostly listening so I could eat).

Sitting in Yoshinoya for lunch today, I tightened up my studio work plans for the installation.  My next residency in Nakanojo will be the last set of drawings to include in the Drawing Cells installation.  It will give me a nice and even six month timeline.

I am at 234 right now.  So add 10 more drawings while in Tokyo, and then another 20 more from my next residency and I will have about 265 drawings for the installation.

Not doing too much today except tidying up the gallery space and setting up the gallery so that people who might be interested in what is going on in the gallery space and get a sneak preview of what is going to happen.

I put up about 12 A5 printouts of my drawings on the front windows.  These were leftover printouts which I had made to use as test images.  Along with that, I laid out a small cluster of mock-up drawing cells on another front window to suggest the idea of clusters, networks, circuitry.  And finally, I put the small set of mounted drawing cells on acrylic pipes just inside the front windows so people could easily see them.

I also sat in front of the 2017 Daily Drawings that I had clustered together and on first glance I see about ten different groups.  I will need to print out the detail photographs and then start labelling the drawings so that laying out the installation will go a bit quicker.

I also decided with a six month timeline, I am assigning 9 cm diameter discs to January and February drawings, 10 cm diameter discs to March and April, and 11 cm diameter discs to May and June.

That is about all my brain can handle after these last few days.  Back to Tokyo to make a large, large order of acrylic discs.

Day 2 of my third stay in Nakanojo

6.17.17

I woke up really tired this morning.

Tangential thought…Can I use a ring of the white tack to secure the acrylic pipe to the floor?  It will probably leave an outline along the floor from afar – which might not be a bad thing.  I would be trading time for money should I go with that set up.  Possible white tack on the top and bottom so I could re-use the pipes and sell the individual Drawing Cells.

I picked up three different frames at DAISO last night.  The white one has a think plastic film instead of glass.  The same for the dark brown.  The semi-natural frame is thicker and the window is glass.  I am leaning towards the white.

DAISO Shopping List

Stapler
Staples
Fishing Line for…

I was so groggy this morning that I ended up napping for 45 minutes before I was picked up to go to the gallery.

The first thing I set out to do was taken down all the clusters on one of the walls and set about to cluster only the 2017 Daily Drawings (215 of them as of Thursday night).  The clusters I created were tighter and more compact, but it will probably be better since I’ll be able to access the relationships more easily.

I need to see how much space 300 Drawing Cells would take up.

Assuming they are all 9 cm diameter discs, they would occupy 19200 sq. cm.
Assuming they are all 10 cm diameter discs, they would occupy 23700 sq. cm.
Assuming they are all 11 cm diameter discs, they would occupy 28500 sq. cm.

The total area of the floor in Sawatari Gallery is about 449000 sq. cm. which means that the discs would occupy on average 5% of the area which is much less than I expected. But then again, I just realized I initially miscalculated by an order of 10.

So with that done I made a few drawings but I also have been playing around with the maximum optimal height for the acrylic pipes. I was looking at them and 25 cm is probably tall enough. 30 cm might be workable, but then the costs go up.

The heights go from left to right, 10, 15, 20, 25 cm.

So trying to figure out how to correlate the heights of the acrylic pipes to the days of the week the Daily Drawings were made.

After playing around with a number of different figures in my sketchbook (not wanting to bore you here), I came up with these numbers

For Tokyo.
0, 4, 8, 12, 16, 20, 24 cm

The day of the week with the most drawings gets the tallest height.

For Nakanojo.
10, 15, 20, 25 cm

The day of the week with the most drawings again gets the tallest height.  Only four heights since I am here almost exclusively from Friday to Monday.  Any exceptions to the rule will be 5 cm.

I like that there is a slight variability in the heights of the pipes and even one instance of overlap (20 cm).  As for the diameters of the acrylic discs, January – March will be 9 cm, April – June will be 10 cm, and July through September will be 11 cm.

That’s it for Day 2.

Day 1 of my third stay in Nakanojo

Last night, I gave a presentation at the Tokyo Humanities Cafe and it went well, although it went later than I had anticipated, so I got home tired, but had not made any preparations for the visit to Nakanojo.  I finished around 1:30 am and woke up in time to get out the door and head up to Nakanojo.  

The first thing that came to mind was that the cropped drawings that I blu-tacked to the wall did not come down.  Not a single one of them.  I was pleasant surprised and it offered me another data point when it comes to installing work in the space.

I unpacked and set off to play with the acrylic pipes which I had bought and cut from Hazaiya.  The things that I wanted to figure out were the optimal diameter of the pipes.  I ordered 2 cm diameter pipes.   Also wanted to see about the thickness of the acrylic pipes.  I think I got 1.5 mm thick pipes, I need to confirm that tomorrow.  The length of the pipes was also something that I needed to see in person.  How far off the floor should the drawings cells be.  I believe that I ordered 10, 15 and 25 cm length pipes.  After spending the day with them sitting on the floor, I think that those heights are within the idea of what I was thinking.  I do not want the drawing cells to be at eye level, but I do like that they are raised so you have to just lean over and look down at them.

To temporarily install them in the space, I blu-tacked the pipe to the acrylic disc and at 2 cm diameter the discs were able to stand balanced as is.  The reality is probably that I either need a wider pipe or to mount the bottom of the pipe to another disc to give it stability.  

What I need to consider next is the what the variable is that I am going to use for the height of the acrylic pipe.  Using the days of the week would give the most vertical variability to the installation.  Then the question begs, what do I use the diameter of the discs for? 

Speaking of diameters, I was also trying to figure out what the optimal diameter would be.  Given that the diameters available from Hazaiya are 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, AND THEN 13, I would have to limit myself to up to 11 cm if I wanted sequential 1 cm increments.  The maximum would be 15 cm since I do not want to exceed the actual size of the drawings.

10 cm feels pretty good.  I could also see 11 cm.  On the smaller end, I could see going to either 7 -8 cm diameter without giving up too much in resolution.

The other thing to remember is the 2nd part of the installation which was conceived in the intervening past two weeks is to install the actual drawings made in Nakanojo on the walls where the mock up of the Drawings Cell circuit is up.  

I am jumping a bit ahead as I then spend the bulk of the afternoon cutting out all my 2017 Daily Drawings into 6 cm circles to remap my clusters.  I decided that including the 2016 Daily Drawings would be work overload.  At this point, we would be talking 400 drawings and you multiply that by the cost of the acrylic discs, well, the numbers get big.  300 is going to be expensive already.  

I circle cropped all 215 drawings before taking a break.  The next thing was to see if I could get away with a 2 mm thickness for the sandwiched drawings between acrylic discs.  The issue would be how much more work and loss of eyesight would it be to make 2 mm wide strips of take.  The other question is whether to use white or black tape to seal the drawing cell.    I took the raised drawing cells and divided the test group between black and white tape as well as 2 mm thick and 4 mm thick sandwiches.

The amount of work for 2 mm wide and 4 mm wide tape is not significant, but the question comes to mind about how much do I want the outline of the drawing cells to stand out. As is, the acrylic pipes are almost invisible at some angles so that the cells appear to float.  Is it better to have the dark outline or the white outline? This is not a question that I can answer right away, but the samples are in the gallery and I have three more days to think about it.

The other nice thing about the varied heights of pipes is that the drawing cells can overlap in the vertical plane which may allow for more tightly clustered focal points.

Okay, I am tired.  It is 11 pm, and I have been much more productive tonight than on the other previous evenings at the residency.  I hope to sleep soundly.  Good night.

The second four, no three, day residency in Nakanojo 6.2 – 6.4

June 2nd.

The weather is almost perfect today – a breezy 25 degrees with low humidity.  I was able to ask Yasuhara-san to pick me up from the gallery at 7 pm so I can maximize my time in the space after arriving here at 1 pm.  I made two drawings on the way up here.  It is a bit of a trek at three hours each way.

The second drawing seemed to loosen up as I got closer to Nakanojo.

I am currently in the middle of picking up all the soft clay nodes that I placed on the floor during my last visit.  Right now, I am at 350 as I take a break to write this.  I am happy with all the materials that I brought with me from Tokyo this time and am optimistic about my productivity this weekend.  Back to counting.

June 3rd.

I was hoping to write last night, but I ended up falling asleep around 10 pm.  It is about noon right now and my immediate thought is to head back to Tokyo tomorrow night, largely in part to the fact that I do not seem to make any headway at night and I am not going to be able to be in the gallery on Monday anyways.

Where did I leave off yesterday?  I finished picking up all the soft clay notes and expecting something like 400 or so, I actually ended up with 550, exactly, which seems suspicious.

The rest of the afternoon was spent cropping all my Daily Drawings into 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 cm diameter circles.

As I was tracing the images out, I was thinking about the idea that the images might be too small and hard to see on the floor.  The thought definitely crossed my mind as I held the 4 cm diameter disc in my hand.

So what I did was to take a sample of drawings printed at actual size and then cropped them at the seven different diameters to see what the images do when cropped out to partial compositions.

With the cropping of the actual size drawings, you lose the sens of the original drawing’s composition.  The cropping becomes a deliberate choice.  I’m not sure having actual size details with a smaller field of view is what I want.

After those test cuts, I set about to cut out circles from the reduced sized drawing print out so the wide of the image matched as closely to the disc diameter.

For each diameter, I cropped 8 drawings which I then attached to the 2 mm thick acrylic discs that I ordered from Hazaiya which arrived before I came up for the second residency.  Rather than sandwiching the drawings and thereby doubling the cost, I simply attached the drawings to one side of the disc with masking tape.  I put the 56 discs at random on the intersection points of the cracks on the floor.

Here is a wide view.

This is a closer shot of one of the denser clusters of nodes.

The 56 discs seem to cover about a quarter of the gallery space.  I did a small test of sandwiching one drawing between two discs to show Kobayashi-san what my intention was and it turns out that the effect is much more elegant that simply affixing the drawing to the top of a circular base.

One of the other observations I had as I started at the drawings on the floor was a bit of concern about how well the drawings stand out from the grey concrete floor.  I also began to see my approach to cropping the drawings in a circle bring me to the idea of microscopy more and more frequently.  I began to think about whether white tape or black tape would be more effective as the border of the acrylic discs.

As I meandered the gallery space looking at the Drawing Cells on the floor, I began to wonder whether installing the drawings on the floor was too simple, or rather too lazy.  If I am going to put down over 400 Drawings Cells, the gallery floor may be quite challenging to manuever without having someone step on one or more of the drawings.

One possible solution is the raise the Drawing Cells off the floor by mounting them to an acrylic pipe so that they are more visible would also give my another variable (pipe height) to organize the drawings.  The downside is, of course, additional cost of materials.  Anyways, I finish off Friday evening in the gallery by cutting down all 320 drawings that I printed at A7 size into circles.  This was a task I had hoped to do between my first and second residency, but that did not happen until last night.  As it turns out about 80 – 100 drawings were printed so that the image was more like A8 size, so I need to re-print those and cut those out before my third visit to Nakanojo.

So what I have done so far today.  Well, on the way back to the residence last night, I stopped off for groceries and a visit to DAISO.  I picked up some Blue Tack and double sided tape with the intention of putting the A7 size cut circle drawings on the gallery wall.  To my surprise, the Blue Tack worked fantastic.  I started out with the intention of just getting an idea of some of the relationships, but before I knew it, I was on a roll and ended up putting them all up on the gallery wall.

Here are some images of what the wall looked like.

As I put them on the wall, I tried to make connections between drawings based on color, composition, types of mark making, drawing utensils, etc.  I would on occasion move the drawings around to make better relationships between drawings.  I was pleasantly surprised at how well the clusters worked as a whole despite starting the whole process without a plan.

June 4th

A few thoughts from last night.

I began thinking about putting the actual drawings that I make while up in Nakanojo/Sawatari along the walls of the gallery.  The issue is cost a.k.a. frames.  Perhaps A5 frames from the 100 yen shop painted white could do the trick?

Another thought occurred when Yamashige-san stopped by the gallery and was looking at the Drawing Cells on the floor of the gallery and wondered if there were pens that thin.  I replied that these were not the actual drawings, but that they were scanned and reduced down to size.  I was thinking last night as I was making a handful of drawings.

What if I started making Daily Drawings on circles cut to the diameter of the acrylic discs?  Actual size drawings.  Of course, my desire to remain consistent once I decide upon a project makes this a challenging change in course.  Do I start making the Daily Drawings on circles while in Tokyo?  Do they become a separate project from the A5 Daily Drawings?  Or maybe it is just the natural evolution of the Daily Drawings project as I begin to take a more analytical about the relationships of my drawings.  One other option would be to create templates for the different diameters and use them to frame an A5 piece of paper so the drawings are still on A5 but the drawings are made in the reduced area.

Templates for 10, 9, and 8 cm made with one circle to draw on for each diamter.

The rest of the afternoon was spent making drawings and making a list of things to do while back in Tokyo and things to bring next time.

The second residency ended with nineteen drawings made in a wide variety of styles and a very productive three days.

I leave this photograph below as one of the last things I did this past weekend in the space.  It hints at some additional work that needs to be tackled.

The first four-day residency in Nakanojo 5.19 – 5.22

As it turns out, the end of the first four-day residency in Nakanojo for preparations for the Nakanojo Biennale was two weeks ago.  After the end of the residency, I had fully intented to write my thoughts and experiences from the experience.  Unfortunately, or fortunately, life got in the way and I was not able to do any form of a recap of the first residency until I was in Nakanojo for my second four-day residency this past weekend.

Rather than start fresh, I spent a couple hours in Nakanojo, more specifically, Sawatari Onsen, and even more specifically in Sawatari Gallery, catching up on my thoughts from the first residency as well as reflecting more immediately on my time during the second residency.  The thoughts on the first residency will use those notes as a starting point and I may add and substract as I transcribe my notes.

For my Nakanojo Biennale installation, I wanted to make slow and steady progress on my work rather than the very last minute procrastination of the last several exhibitions.  As a result, I scheduled four day weekends every two weeks starting with the weekend of May 19 – 22.  My general plan was to leave Tokyo on Friday around 9 am and arrive in Nakanojo just after noon to be picked up and brought to my installation site, Sawatari Gallery.  As it turns out, about a week before my first residency, I was contacted by the Nakanojo Biennale staff and asked if I could participate in the Nakanojo Biennale Archives exhibition which was to take place in the Gunma prefecture specialty shop, Gunma-chan-chi in Ginza.  While I am not planning to exhibit my Memory Walks for the Nakanojo Biennale, there was an appeal to installing one month work of Memory Walks in the exhibition space which overlooked a busy intersection in Ginza.  As the installation date for the exhibition was the same day as my first day in Nakanojo, I got to ride along with the staff back to Nakanojo after the installation was complete.  We made a few stops on the way back to Nakanojo.  The first stop was in Higashi-ginza to see Naho Hanawa’s exhibition at Gallery Seizan.  I met her during the orientation for the Nakanojo Biennale last October and it was the second time for me to see her exhibition.  Her analog composite photographs of natural and urban landscapes that are occasionally lit from behind with an LED panel.  Afterwards, we headed up to Nakanojo with a stop at the Miyoshi Service Area for a quick lunch.  Upon arriving in Gunma prefecture, we headed to one more exhibition by Mitsuo Saiki at the Former Ohtake Brewery which was converted into an exhibition space.  As it turns out, Mitsuo Saiki will be utilizing the basement space of the Sawatari Gallery as an exhibition space for the 2017 Nakanojo Biennale, so it was nice to be able to have a brief introduction to him.  By the time we finished there, it was almost five o’clock, so it was decided that I would just head to the residence and start out Saturday morning to Sawatari Gallery.  The residence is located in a home in the Nakanojo-machi area which was different that the Isamu Studio which was more isolated from town life.

I was picked up at the residence on Saturday morning and we made our way to Sawatari Gallery which was about a fifteen minute drive from the residence.  After getting the sliding glass door open and checking the power, I began studio work by taking a bit of time walking around the space and looking at the walls, windows, floors and ceiling.

I discovered the concrete floor was covered with cracks that intersected at numerous points.  Immediately, I took those nodes as a starting point for laying out my drawings.

At random, I laid down the reduced and printed out scans of Daily Drawings at each of the nodes that I could see.  All 320 drawings made it onto the floor with many nodes to spare.  I took pictures of the layout as a whole as well as numerous detail shots.  After that I began the laborious task of picking them all up from the floor and started to try and sort the 320 drawings by motifs.

I made it through about a quarter of the drawings before the Nakanojo staff came by to have lunch with myself and Kobayashi-san who has a installation space just up the hill from Sawatari Gallery.  After a leisure lunch at a Chinese restaurant down the hill from the gallery, we made our way back up the hill and stopped off at the Kaneki ryokan to introduce ourselves to the owners.  We ended up getting a tour of the ryokan’s outdoor and indoor amenities.  One of the nicest outdoor amenities is a recently constructed tree house and veranda which sets up in the trees with a bed to nap in when you are tired of sitting out on the veranda sipping coffee.  By the time we got back to work, there was about 90 minutes before being picked up again to head back to the residence.  I continued to do some sorting, before heading back to the residence where I had dinner and did a bit more sorting before spending an hour or two talking to the other artists before heading to bed.

Sunday morning and afternoon were spent in the gallery making drawings in the space.  After lunch, I headed down to the Kaneki ryokan to spend a couple hours in the treehouse making drawings.  Heading back up to the gallery afterwards, I spent the last hour or so sweeping up the gallery space trying to remove spiderwebs, dead insects, leaves, branches, papers, etc.  The space does not require a lot of clean up as compared to some of the other spaces for the Nakanojo Biennale, but as the festival opening draws closer I will have to start thinking about what needs to be done.  It feels like a moot point this early before the festival.

While I was cleaning the gallery space, I spent a lot of that time staring at the cracks on the floor and thinking about how to inventory them.

I took a few pieces of paper and made pencil rubbings of the cracks, but they did not turn out as defined as I had hoped.  I start to think about putting white sticker dots or blue tack at each of the intersection points.

As I headed back to the residence, I asked to be dropped off at the nearby supermarket Yaoko and as it turns out there was a DAISO 100 yen shop in the same building.  I hopped out of the car and headed straight to DAISO to do some materials research.  There I found adhesive dots and blue tack, but as I started thinking about the best way to mark the nodes, I stumbled up a rack of soft clay.  That was it.  I could roll little white balls out of the soft clay and put them on the nodes.  This way I did not have to worry about the stickiness of the adhesive dots or the oily residue from the blue tack marking the floor up.

So Monday morning, I headed back up to the gallery and spent almost the entirety of the day making and putting little beads of soft clay on all the nodes.  I tried to set about counting the number of nodes, but it was to no effect.  I did take pictures of the set up, of which a few are below.

As I randomly took these macro photographs of the nodes, my Memory Walks project came to mind with these white balls.

It was great to be able to leave the nodes there over the next two weeks so that I could return to an in progress space.  I proceeded make a few more drawings while I was waiting for my ride to the train station.  During the four days, I managed to make 14 new Daily Drawings, which I posted on this blog soon after returning to Tokyo.  There was an interesting progression in the drawings as the days went along in Nakanojo.  I will talk about that more in my posts about the second residency which I just finish this weekend.

About the Daily Drawings, Part 3

While there seems to be some momentum in my writing, I figured I would try and close out my thoughts about my Daily Drawings so I can move on tomorrow to tackling future directions and activities.  After my exhibition at hasu no hana, I started to think more and more about the relationships between my Daily Drawings Project and Memory Walks Project and their relationships to unconscious and conscious memory.

When the work is first encountered and viewed without explanation, some of the more common reactions are how detailed (i.e. obsessive) the marks are.  I have also had people ask me if they are prints rather than drawings.  I am also met with surprise when I mention that most of these drawings were made during my commute.

When a deeper conversation takes place and it is revealed that I also work as a molecular biologist, there almost always a re-engagement with the work that looks for connections with my research work or people have an “Aha!” moment.  It seems to help people to anchor the work in some sort of context.  I, myself, have also incorporated that into my own description of the work as I see that it does help to provide an additional entry point into the work.  These different reactions have helped me to locate the Daily Drawings in their own context and perhaps a bit in relationship to unconscious memory.  However, the relationship between the two projects had yet to be directly addressed

For my solo exhibition “Everyday Circuits”, I wanted at least one aspect of the exhibition to provide the next step in exploring the relationship between these two projects.  Through multiple discussions with Gallery Camellia director, Naoko Harada, we decided to take a smaller scale approach to these projects as they have been the main focus of previous exhibitions.  The exhibition at Gallery Camellia would be a way to bridge these two projects with  other ideas in my studio practice that she had been interested in developing.

For “Everyday Circuits”, I focused on the ten days in 2016 that I visited Gallery Camellia to see an exhibition, do research for my exhibition, attend an event, or just say hello.  I created a quartet of works for each of those days.  One component consisted of the Daily Drawing that I made in 2016 on the day I visited the gallery.  The second component of the work consisted of a Memory Walk drawing I made between 4 months to 16 months after I visited the gallery.  The third component of the work consisted of a Memory Walk drawing of a day I visited the gallery, but was drawn within a day of repeating the same walks on that given day.  Okay, that might be a bit confusing.  My idea was to repeat the walks as a way of bring the memory of the those walks into the present.  The walks would not be exactly the same as I took on the actual day since I only had departure points as reference, but I would be able to discern any gaps or mistakes in my memory of the walks and document them in a drawing.  I wanted to experience the realization of gaps or misrepresentations of my memory and use the drawings to document those gaps.  The fourth component of the work for each day was a Daily Drawing that I made during the repeat of the walks for a given day.  Again, the idea was to try and draw connections.  This time I wanted to try and connect my unconscious memory through the Daily Drawings.  By juxtaposing all four of these components in a single work, I thought it would be a way for me to look at the relationships between these four components in all combinations.   This is what one of those days looked like in the gallery.

I spent a lot of time with these works over the two weeks of the exhibition.  I will address the relationships between the two projects as well as within the Memory Walks in a later note.  For now, I am interested in the relationships between the two drawings.  On the surface, the following are some of the impressions that have stuck with me.  The two drawings both have a square shape and use vertical mark making.  On the other hand the size of the drawings are different as well as the color of the lines.  It is a rather simple analysis, but it is a starting point.  In my discussions with various people who viewed the work, I began to think about all the variables that could influence the final form of the drawings.  Did I have a seat when I made the drawing?  Was I listening to anything when I was making the drawing?  Was I self-conscious of making the drawing while people were nearby?  What was my mood when I was making the drawing?  Some broader questions might include my choice of pen thickness and color, the type of paper I was drawing on, the choice of mark making motifs, etc.  The list could actually go on and on, but I will stop there.

Take a look at another day.

Trying to connect these two drawings required more work and since it is late, I will leave that to readers of this note.  Please feel to leave any thoughts and comments after you finishing reading this.  What I will say is that my initial reaction to these two drawings is that there are no obvious relationships between the works, maybe one of the motifs of the repetitive mark making.

The contrast in connections and lack of connections certainly lends to a sense of uncertainty about if this approach is going to bear fruit.  However, by the end of the “Everyday Circuits” exhibition, I came to the conclusion that I have over 400 Daily Drawings since 2015 to use as source material.  I have 320 Daily Drawings from 2016 and 2017 to use as source material and I have over 140 Daily Drawings (and counting) from 2017 to use as source materials.  The complexity of the relationships between two drawings made me realize that working with just the Daily Drawings would be a large enough project for the Nakanojo Biennale.  So instead of trying to merge those two projects into one installation, I am going to focus on the Daily Drawings and looking for relationships between the drawings.  To start, I want to look at the color of the drawing, the drawing tool, the day of the week it was made, the motifs, and even how much of the page was occupied with marks.  That is already a lot of variables.  There is a tendency for me to go down the path of the scientific method and adhere to set parameters for relationships.  However, I am prepared to use a blend of the scientific method along with my visual intuition and fragments of memories that might be associated with each drawing to create relationships between all the drawings.

I should also add that I have an additional variable for this project which is to make Daily Drawings during my visits and stays in Nakanojo to explore the differences and similarities of making drawings in the confines of an urban environment versus the more expansive and open countryside.

How I address these relationships and variables will be dynamic as I will certainly adjust and re-adjust my approach to the installation as the work develops with new drawings and more thorough considerations of the relationships of the drawings.  I also will need to do some more extensive research into unconscious memory if the variables that I am considering are valid or not.

As I mentioned before in my long overdue first post of 2017, I need to see visit and be in the Sawatari Gallery space before I decide whether to use 400, 320, or 140 or so drawings as source material to find connections in my unconscious mark making.  I also know that I need to address what I mean when I say unconscious mark making as I realize that it is by no means a completely unconscious process in which I make these drawings.

I am going to close the third part of the notes on my Daily Drawings there.  For those of you interested, you can see all my drawings from 2016 at the following link at my website.

http://www.arthurjhuang.com/id-2/id/

You can also see the drawings that I have been making in 2017 at the following link at my website.  I have currently included up to drawing #140 on there.  You can also check back on this blog regular to see the drawings from #141 on.

http://www.arthurjhuang.com/id-2/2017-daily-drawings–/

I will talk more about future projects and activities in the next post before returning to my Memory Walks Project to discuss what I have done with that project over the last year or so and where I plan to take that project.

 

 

About the Daily Drawings, Part 1

In some earlier post, I may have already written a bit about the backstory to my Daily Drawings Project.   But for the sake of examining the whole arc of the project, please bear with me.  Almost two years ago, I found an Instagram post by Lisa Espenmiller in which she was posting as part of the 100 Days in My Sketchbook Project.  Daily drawings had been one of those unattainable pursuits for me.  I often say that I had a desire to make drawings on a daily basis from the time of graduate school, but I think that desire probably goes back 25 years when I discovered my passion for painting in university.

I had often tried to self start Daily Drawings over those 25 years, but with no more success than failed attempts to go to the gym on a regular basis.  I also think that I was very self-judgemental about the drawings that I was making during those attempts.  When this 100 Days in My Sketchbook Project came across my view, I decided that I would give daily drawing another try.  This time, I used my daily practice of social media to my advantage by incorporating the daily post of my drawings into that well established daily practice.  On July 1st, 2015, this is the drawing that I made.

I was surprised by this drawing and remember thinking how I wanted to expand this motif into a larger series.  Subsequent days in the first week were less successful, but regardless, they were posted on social media.

This was an attempt at a blind Memory Walks drawing which I used the blind contour drawing technique for inspiration.  I reverted back to the Memory Walks on this day because I was lost in terms of what to draw.

The first week was the hardest in terms of keeping my inner critics at bay.  There were often inner voices competing and conflicting for the content and quality of the drawing.  And then about a week later, I made this drawing.

It was with this drawing that things changed for me.  Two reasons.  The first being that I have always been drawn to works with repetitive and microscopic motifs and often thought that this type of work was not in me.  Yes, my work is often repetitive, but rarely had it been microscopic.  This drawing was the first indication for me that it might, in fact, be within me.  The second reason was that I found myself focused on the act of drawing rather than the results of drawing.  The mark making which I have always enjoyed became enough for me.  Certainly, the end result of the drawing was a treat to see, but I was no longer worried so much about what it was.  The closest analogy I can use to describe this feeling is when I am reading a novel and I am not looking at the page number to see how many pages I have read in how long or calculating how many pages are left in the novel.  I am reading for the sheer act of reading.

The 100 Days in My Sketchbook Project ended on October 29, 2015.  In reality, the 100 days actually took me 121 days – it was not always a smooth road, but I did finish the project.  As I was busy with my Memory Walks project, I found myself making most of these drawings during commutes and moments of waiting – a practice that continues to this day.  After four months with this project, drawing became incorporated into my daily practice.  I continued making these drawings with the intent that they would serve as explorations into mark making that I could incorporate into other projects.  The drawings were a practice that would be simply for myself.

Things changed towards the end of the summer of 2016 when I was offered a solo exhibition at hasu no hana in which these drawings would be the main focus.  It was an unexpected surprise.  I had imagined that larger drawings that were inspired from these A5 drawings could be conceived for exhibtions, but until that point, I had not considered these A5 size drawings for exhibition.  With this exhibition “My Everyday Life”, the Daily Drawings Project was used as a framework for connecting various aspects of my studio practice.  All my drawings from 2016 were displayed on one wall of the gallery space.

This is just portion of the wall of drawings.  The layout of the drawings is a basic calendar format where the rows consist of the months going from top to bottom.  The columns are the days of the month going from left to right.  The gaps you see between the drawings are days in which I did not make a drawing.  I was a bit hesitant about displaying the drawings this way and I wanted to fill in the gaps with ephemera or works from other aspects of my studio practice.   However, I recalled seeing On Kawara’s retrospective at the Guggenheim three years ago and how he also had gaps in this Date Paintings as well as other projects he pursued.  In addition, these gaps also serve as indicators of other activities in my life whether it be in the studio or otherwise personal.

Discussions with Kazue Fukuma, director of hasu no hana, led to the idea of juxtaposing my Memory Walks Project with these daily drawings.  The result can be seen in this installation shot.

For this exhibition, I installed all my Memory Walks drawings from June 2016 and they were installed to line up with the row of drawings for June 2016.  It was the first attempt to reflect upon the relationship between these two projects.   Over the course of the two weeks of “My Everyday Life”, I had regular discussions with Kazue Fukuma about the relationship between these two projects, more specifically, seeing the two projects as a conversation between conscious and unconscious memory.

The Daily Drawings have no preconceived form.  I get up in the morning and when I find a moment, usually on the train, I pull out my drawing paper, choose a pen, and make a mark.  Usually I am listening to music, although the last few months, it has been podcasts when I make mark.  From the initial mark, the drawing grows organically as I respond to the initial mark and growing form.  Sometimes the drawing is finished in one session, while other times it takes two sessions or longer.  The length of time is never pre-determined.  That decision is usually made close the end of the drawing session.

One of the reasons that I enjoy this project is because it taps into the more intuitive side of my creative process.  My studio practice has long been based on conceiving an idea, creating a framework to express the idea, and then making the work based on that framework, often with little variation from the initial framework.  The drawings allow me the chance of unexpected discoveries and accidents.  I also think it makes me more open to conceiving and receiving new approaches to my other projects.

I risk jumping ahead in the timeline, but I will say that I have come to see the conscious and unconscious memory dichotomy as oversimplified.  It is a got entry point into the concept of this inquiry, but at the same time, I have come to realize that the two projects exist on opposite sides of the unconscious and conscious memory scale.  However, they are not at opposite ends, but rather a weighted blend of those two types of memories.

At the close of “My Everyday Life”, I was given two new opportunities to push the exploration of my daily drawings and I will discuss those in Parts 2 and 3.

 

 

Where have I been, where am I, where am I going?

As I finally sat down to do some writing on about my studio practice after what looks like almost 18 months, I found the start of a blog post (you can find it at the end of this post) in my draft folder which I started about a year ago.

The opening paragraph expresses a sentiment that is not entirely different than how I feel now.  In some ways, I feel like I have not really had time to process the workings on my studio practice since the start of 2016.  Since then, it has been an amazing journey with so many opportunities to share my work with people and to learn so much from so many people.  That said, I came into this nine day Golden Week holiday with so many expectations.  More than halfway over, I can say that I have fallen short of all many of those expectations.  I think my mind and body are experiencing a pent up case of post exhibition blues which I frequently ruminate upon.  I thought I would find more energy in the openness of my schedule and lack of pressing deadlines.  Beyond the first Saturday when a full day of activities made me realize the extent of my exhaustion, I have found myself sticking close to home and in most cases when at home, napping and sleeping.

Of course there are things that I have managed to accomplish over the days such as finally updating my website with all the images from all the exhibitions as well as cleaning up the look of the website.  I have also managed to return to regular updates for gallery and museum exhibitions as well as call for entry deadlines.  I made a list of exhibitions that I wanted to see during this time especially since the weather has been as perfect as I could ask for in Tokyo.  However, I have pretty much given up on any gallery and museum hopping until after regular life resumes next Monday.  I am succumbing to the hermit-like nature of this time off.  Exercise is another thing which I have not accomplished up to this point.  I write this on a Thursday night with semi-determined desire to resume a regular exercise program tomorrow morning.

As the exhibitions at Gallery Camellia and Jill d’Art Gallery wound down, I found myself thinking about what I wanted to write about once the exhibitions closed.  The idea was simple.  I wanted to take a look at how I arrived at each of the major works for my last four exhibitions starting with “My Everyday Life”, Art Nagoya 2017, “New Face!” and finally “Everyday Circuits”.  In the process of those examinations, I had imagined that I could find a path or two that my studio practice was taking and see where my work was leading as I began to work on my installation for the Nakanojo Biennale.

I still would like to do that because there were a number of important discussions that took place in regards to my studio practice as well as new avenues to explore.  But, for the sake of bringing things up to speed as much as possible, I want to work from the present forwards and backwards.

What that means is for me to share where I am with the work for Nakanojo Biennale at this point.

Back at the beginning of November 2016, I was asked to submit an exhibition plan for my work as well as three choices of venues.

Here are the documents that I submitted.

The idea for the project was borne from a desire to connect my Memory Walks Project and Daily Drawings Project.  The initial connection between the two projects came during discussion for “My Everyday Life” exhibition at hasu no hana.  When the project plan was submitted, the idea of merging these two projects and what it was that I was exploring was just being hatched.

As I look at these plans some six months later, I am surprised at how my current idea for my project is clearly reflected in these plans.  I had thought that the shape of the project was much much different than what I submitted.

I am jumping ahead.  So in early 2017, I received word that my project would be located at Sawatari Gallery which was on my list of venue choices.

Here are a couple images of what the venue looks like.


When I went to Nakanojo last fall to look at the different venues, we were not able to go into Sawatari Gallery on the particular day I was visiting.  So I have yet to enter the actual space.  One of the good things about the space is the amount of clean up and renovation required to make it exhibition ready is significantly less than what other exhibition venues might require.  As you can see in the above picture, the gallery is quite large and spacious.  This is at once exciting and nerve wracking.

Artists participating in the Nakanojo Biennale were able to visit their exhibition venues as early as this past April.  As I was busy with preparations for both the Gallery Camellia and Jill d’Art Gallery exhibitions, I could not schedule a visit until May.  I will be making my first visit to Sawatari Gallery from May 19 – 22, 2017.

Here is a map of the area to give you a sense of where Sawatari Gallery is relative to Nakanojo Station.

Sawatari Gallery is the green “40” pin at the top right of the map.

So what are my initial plans for my project at Sawatari Gallery?

One of my new projects “Memories from the Sky” at Gallery Camellia helped to clarify the initial shape of the project.

Each individual cell was created by sandwiching a hand trimmed inkjet print between two acrylic discs (each 2 mm thick) and then sealing the print in between by wrapping a 4 mm wide piece of bookbinding tape around the sides.  The result of the DIY process was surprising effective and elegant.

Over the course of the last six months, my idea for my project at Nakanojo Biennale has evolved from a convergence of the Memory Walks and Daily Drawing Projects to a singular exploration of the Daily Drawing Project.  There are a number of reasons for the evolution.  First of all, with the completion of the two iterations of the 2016 Memory Walks for Art Nagoya 2017 and New Face!  I felt like I reached a plateau with the Memory Walks Project in terms of a daily practice.  I am still interested in exploring variations with the eggshells that I started last year at HAGISO, but I am ready to step away from the daily drawing of Memory Walks on eggshells for a while.  A second reason for the change was the process of determining the form of my “Everyday Circuits” exhibition.  The original plans for the exhibition differed quite significantly from the final form of the exhibition.  It was through many discussions with Gallery Camellia’s director Naoko Harada and much thought and reflection on my part to see that more is not always better and less can be much better.  With those lessons learned (which I plan on elaborating more on, in a future post), I decided the trying to connect the two projects would be too complex with too many variables to consider.  This was especially true as I started to think about all the variables I could consider when trying to determine the relationship between my Daily Drawings.

My initial plan is to make inkjet prints of all my Daily Drawings from 2016 and 2017 and sandwich them between acrylic discs and install them in the Sawatari Gallery Space.  The current count of drawings is just over 320.  I am planning to make drawings throughout all my site visits and studio work days in Sawatari, so the number of drawings to be included could be over 500.  All these numbers are tentative as I think that I will have a better idea once I see the space take measurements and do some geometry.

I will stop here for now and hopefully start to work backwards and forward over the next few days and keep it up through the fall.

—————

This is the draft of a blog I started while my solo exhibition at HAGISO was ongoing last May.

Unlike previous exhibitions or events, I did not find myself with time to write about my studio work progress as it was moving along. More than a week into the exhibition at HAGISO, I have still not managed much more than the social media PR for the exhibition. This five month long process from concept to exhibition has added a lot to my base of knowledge. Some of which I achieved on my own with the rest of it coming through discussions with other artists and feedback from people who have seen the work at HAGISO.

I want to try and start writing about the process when studio work began in earnest. There were discussions in December, January, and February with HAGISO about the work that I would be making for the exhibition. Before the January meeting, I had conceived the idea of large installation of Memory Walk Drawings to occupy the bulk of the HAGISO space. It is a bit blurry as to when that large installation coalesced into the shape of a brain. I think it was sometime in February because I spent my free time at AIAV at the end of February beginning the calculations for the dimensions of the installation.

For the January meeting, we had discussions about combining the Memory Walk Drawings installation with flashing LED papier mache domes of my receipts. The concern during that discussion was that there would be too much going on in the space with flashing domes on receipts on the wall interfering with a good view of the installation. At the time of the discussion, I was convinced that given the four months that I had before the exhibition both large projects could have been conceived. Looking back on the whole thing, I have to thank HAGISO for talking me off that ledge.

I was still interested in experimenting with variations of the Memory Walks as a way to delve deeper into how the drawings on eggshells could better convey the complex nature of memory. This meant that there would need to be experimentation with how to paint out the previously drawn memory walks with gesso, white paint, or any other material. I also would need to see how feasible the idea of kintsugi would work with the eggshells. In my mind, I had envisioned something similar to Tom Friedman’s reconstructed Total cereal box using many boxes of Total cut into uniform squares. This should have clued me in on the difficulties ahead for me.

With the exhibition narrowed down to the theme of Memory Walks, I set about making a plan for studio work to make sure that the work would be done ahead of time. I also wanted to make the installation of the work as easy as possible so I also wanted the work as ready to hang as possible.

The first step was to calculate the dimensions of the installation and figure out how many eggshells would be needed for the exhibition. I managed to find a fairly complete collection of slices from the human brain which I used as the source to create the framework for the installation. I brought the data for the nine slices of the brain which would cover the entire brain with me to AIAV at the end of February and managed to do the preliminary sketches while I was there.