my make believe collection 17 :: wendy kawabata

Contributor post by Lisa Solomon

stemma installation view III 2006-07 kukui nuts, thread bell jar

wendy kawabata and i were in a show together in 2006 called the point of loose ends at mira costa college in oceanside [southern california]. if you are curious you can see installation shots from the show here.

stemma, kukui nuts, thread, bell jars, 2007
for many reasons our work and lives felt synergistic. i was a 1/2 japanese woman with a non-asian name. she was a non-asian woman who married a japanese american and took his name. 

we both made some tiny thread balls [her version pictured above].

we both were interested in domestic practices turned into "fine art" practices. 

i looked at her work and wished that i made it. 

The Gentleman, needle perforations through paper, 30” x 22”, 2010
i love her series of drawings made from pin pricks. subtly violent... she picks imagery that is really lovely and speaks about colonialism, trying to figure out where you come from - in essence what is a sense of place.

she lives in hawaii where cultures intersect and merge in ways that don't happen in other places in the world i think. 

Withdrawn from Circulation (detail), installation at Corban Estate Art Centre, 2010
she's also a thinker and engrossed in a work ethic that i admire. books. released from their duty. turned into a beautiful grouping - constellation like. repurposed. renewed. the undesirable and discarded refashioned into beauty.

of course you know by now i'm a sucker for repetition. and  i love seeing the hand [but also fooled. her hand is so steady so "perfect" that you know it's at work, but not in an obvious way]. 


Untitled (Acts series, II), gouache & colored pencil on paper, 30” x 22”, 2011

these newer drawings are particularly compelling to me. simple - yet technically masterful. i love the idea of taking something so tactile [yarn/thread] and recreating it flat - in colored pencil. so wrong. so painstaking. just look at the detail....

Untitled (Acts series, II) DETAIL, gouache & colored pencil on paper, 30” x 22”, 2011
Study, gouache & colored pencil on paper, 6” x 6”, 2011
and this. yarn. but also a formal red line. i know what this looks like on my desk. i love taking it from it's useful, utilitarian purpose - removing it from any context. making yarn butt up against fine art. i often look down at a pile of thread tails or yard that i need to untangle and think it's beautiful. wendy's work only makes that impulse clearer. purer. 

Study, gouache & colored pencil on paper, 6” x 6”, 2011
so this is the one i want. [although i'd take the red yarn piece in a second too]. did you ever make those potholders on a tiny loom? this reminds me of that - a more sophisticated, better color coordinated version. if you look down at your clothing - really look - you'll see this knit pattern. i love how she pays attention to it. makes me pay attention to it. gives me a microscopic view.

wendy just recently received a pollock krasner grant. i can't wait to see what comes out of her studio next.

follow my collection as it grows on pinterest. until next time....

Jan Halvarson

3 comments:

Katrina said...

gorgeous, gorgeous work. the book installation makes me swoon. (hi lisa.)

lisa s said...

hi you. figures you like ;)

Miss Erin Fae said...

Corban Estate Art Centre? that's in NZ! Where i live :)

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