Long Eclipse, Kahori Kamiya’s NY debut solo exhibition currently showing at Amos Eno Gallery, delves into the artist’s deeply personal experience of motherhood, breastfeeding, and the impact of the pandemic. Through paintings and sculptures, Kamiya explores the emotions and challenges of this unique time in her life, while also reflecting on themes of racial discrimination and grief. Her organic shapes run through semi-figurative drawings and painted sculptures, resonating with ancient Japanese spirituality and its relation to nature. The show runs through March 26, 2023.
How do you see the relationship between painting and sculpture in this show?
To me, the relationship between painting and sculpture in this show is intertwined, much like my role as both an artist and mother. While my formal studies were primarily focused on sculpture, painting has become a newer addition to my artistic practice in the last three years. Initially, these two mediums seemed distinct from each other, but as I explored ancient spirituality such as worshiping nature, I found that they became closer in their expression.
In my work, I often create a sculptural base and then paint on top of it, allowing for a more intuitive and spiritual approach. I record what I see or feel in the moment, working spontaneously and unintentionally. It’s almost as though I’m channeling the spirits that inspire me. Sometimes, when I create a color and look away for a moment, it’s as if the image disappears like a spirit. Overall, the relationship between painting and sculpture in this show is an evidence to the fluidity and interconnectedness of artistic mediums.
Let’s take a closer look at one sculpture and one painting. What is their genesis and what would you like to share about your process?
In my sculpture, I Have Been Waiting for You (2023), I aimed to capture the essence of a cave through its distinctive shape, creating historical remains that reflect the timeless beauty and mystery of these natural formations. Throughout my art practice, I’ve been fascinated with the notion of excavating the interior of materials to create a dynamic interplay between the inner and outer forms. This fascination dates back to my childhood when I spent hours building sand mountains, relishing in the act of carving tunnels and pathways. The cave, with its echoes and sense of mystery, continues to inspire my art practice, offering a gateway to my subconscious mind and memories.
In my large-scale painting-tapestry, Long Eclipse (measuring 120″ x 80″), I offer a deeply personal reflection on pandemic times and motherhood from the perspective of an Asian mother. The piece incorporates peacock feathers, symbolizing the dual meaning of escaping spirits and the prying eyes of a judgmental public. I also attached foam and layered it with metal leaves, showcasing my fascination with polyurethane liquid, which expands and transforms in unpredictable ways, much like the changes my body underwent during my maternity and nursing experiences.
To represent healing, I utilized gold leaf, referred to by the Japanese technique of “kintsugi,” which repairs broken pottery using liquid gold. For me, gold is the color of rebirth and renewal, and I attached a gold leaf to the top of the polyurethane to create a sculptural golden vein. Then I framed it with a Japanese vintage Kimono belt that resonates with me as an umbilical cord. The artwork represents a compelling exploration of the intersection between my personal experience and creative expression, inviting viewers to delve into the depths of motherhood and pandemic times through my perspective.
About the artist: Kahori Kamiya was born in Nagoya, Japan, and moved to New York, where she received her second MFA in Fine Art from the School of Visual Arts. She is a recipient of the Award from the Hudson Valley Museum of Contemporary Art, Puffin Foundation Grant, and ISCP residency that will start this April. Recently her works have been featured by Two Coats of Paint, WMHT Public Media TV, and Transborder Art. Kamiya’s works are exhibited globally in Japan, Germany, England, Spain, Poland, Russia, Estonia, Australia, Canada, and the United States and collected in Japan, the US, and Israel.
Kahori Kamiya: Long Eclipse March 2 – 26, 2023 Amos Eno Gallery 56 Bogart St, Brooklyn, NY 11206