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Withdrawn from Circulation (detail), installation at Corban Estate Art Centre, 2010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


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 :)